O’Brien promises a ‘normal bloke’ perspective
FROM his days on the line at Laminex to his police and political career, Llew O'Brien wants to take an "ordinary bloke" perspective with him to Canberra.
The new LNP candidate, pre-selected on Sunday, has been acknowledged as heir apparent by retiring federal Wide Bay MP Warren Truss.
The man who met his wife Sharon at Gympie's Freemasons Hotel doesn't want to make a big thing of it, but he obviously feels there is room for one or two more "normal people" in the capital.
"I met Sharon at the Free," he told The Gympie Times yesterday, "on a Saturday night."
"And we went for coffee afterwards at the Matilda, because it was the only place open after midnight."
Times change. The Freemasons is no longer trading. Kybong's Matilda is a Puma outlet.
And Llew O'Brien, 43, who moved to Gympie in 1988, no longer works at Laminex.
He and Sharon married in 1993. "Sharon's fifth generation Gympie region, so the kids are sixth generation locals on her side."
Mr O'Brien says Sharon will be part of the team if he is elected to replace Mr Truss. And that could be as soon as July, if the stories out of Canberra come true.
"I've been a police officer here for 16 years," he said, explaining that this was one of the big things that led him to politics.
"I've always had a political interest, but it was set on fire by all the fatalities on the Bruce Hwy."
Then there have been the fatalities in the Kilkivan division, where he is now stationed.
"That death and tragedy affects everyone. And it's the government that builds roads.
"One of the ways it affected me was to make me get involved in politics.
"I've worked with Warren Truss to convince the government to act.
"Just knowing what is not going to happen on the new stretch of highway is really significant for me.
"Soon we will forget, but we have to make sure money is available for when Section C finishes and Section D needs to commence."
And then there is the highway to the north, where all that high-speed motorway traffic suddenly arrives at a highway which is still mostly a two-lane country road.
"Gympie has to be a place where we encourage people to take a break, because it is two hours from Brisbane and that is when you get into that fatigue zone.
My main focus is jobs and working with business.
"I don't want to sound too much like the policeman, but I've had a lot to do with people in domestic violence situations and I've seen the effects of ice and it's tragic.
"And a lot of it is made worse by unemployment."