Neville driven by love of politics
RE-ELECTED Member for Hinkler Paul Neville has famously said he would go anywhere for a vote.
And he had to make good on his boast in rather unusual circumstances some years ago.
Mr Neville and wife Margaret were on their way to Rockhampton when he decided to stop off at Ambrose, a small village north of Gladstone that was in his electorate, in an effort to meet some of the locals.
Problem was, he couldn’t find any locals.
Eventually he saw 50 or 60 cars outside a CWA hall and figured there was some sort of meeting or event on.
He parked and walked in — to find himself in the middle of a crowd of women who were waiting to have pap smears.Bundy backs LNP as Labor crashes Voters in Flynn follow trend
It was a minor bump in the road on a political journey the now 70-year-old started when he was just 12.
“That was before the days of TV, and I used to sit up next to the radio on election nights listening to the results come in and jotting down the figures to see where it was heading,” he said.
“It’s been a lifelong interest of mine.”
Mr Neville was born in Warwick and his first job after school was as state secretary of the Arts Council of Australia.
He later worked for Birch Carroll and Coyle before moving to Bundaberg, where he has lived ever since, in 1967.
In 1979-80, a development board was formed in Bundaberg, and Mr Neville fundraised and helped plan a five-year program for the promotion of industry and tourism in Bundaberg and North Burnett.
He was later appointed CEO of the board, and held the position until late in 1992, when he was approached to run for the National Party in the seat of Hinkler.
In 1993 Mr Neville beat Labor’s Brian Courtice in the election by 354 votes, and has held the seat since.
Mr Neville said in his time as an MP, he had concentrated mainly on getting infrastructure for the region, particularly roads.
“I have never believed governments have spent enough money on the Bruce Highway,” he said.
“No other state has the network of provincial cities Queensland has, and there is a need for connectivity between these cities.”
Mr Neville said there was a need for greater focus on the Bruce Highway north of Cooroy.
He said he felt too much money was being spent on the capital cities and South-East Queensland.
“I don’t think there is enough appreciation of the social and economic benefits of a good highway taking us through to Cairns or even Mossman,” he said.
“That’s something I’ll be working on this term.”
Mr Neville said he felt excited and driven by the challenges of the coming term.
“I like to think I set a pace that challenges the younger ones to keep up with me,” he said.
“Your capacity for the job is not driven by your age, but by your enthusiasm and dedication to the task.”
Mr Neville said he thought what lay ahead would be a very interesting time in politics, but he hoped it did not overshadow the needs of Australians.
He said he would like to be seen as what he called “a practical green”.
“I’m not a tree hugger or a blind zealot,” he said.
“I think we can do so many practical things, like with solar energy and hybrid cars.
“That includes things like not allowing silly projects like Traveston Dam, and cleaning up the waterways.”
Mr Neville has been married to Margaret for 42 years and the couple has five children, including two sets of twins, and eight grandchildren.
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