Whirlwind 12 months for Wide Bay MP O'Brien
IN JANUARY last year Senior Constable Llew O'Brien was one of two men working at Kilkivan's police station.
Just 12 months later Mr O'Brien represents Wide Bay in the House of Representatives, where he won the seat vacated by retired MP and former Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss.
Mr O'Brien described the eight-week campaign, one of the longest in Australia's political history, and subsequent win as one of the biggest moments of his 2016.
"It says a lot about our democracy which is a good thing,” he said.
"You don't have to be a life-long corporate type, a lobbyist or a union official to get there, you can be there as a punter.
"Certainly winning the election was a big moment for me.”
Mr Truss was elected to parliament in 1990, and held the seat until his retirment prior to the 2016 election.
He held a number of portfolios throughout his career, but served as leader of the Nationals from December 2007 until his retirement.
The challenge of taking over from a a much-loved, long-serving member was not lost on Mr O'Brien, who managed Mr Truss' successful election campaign in 2013.
"Warren is someone who's been a mentor of mine for many years,” Mr O'Brien said.
"I managed his campaign when we took government in 2013 and I've seen behind the scenes how much he did for the area, quietly in his own way.
"It is a big step coming in after the deputy Prime Minister, but I'll be judged on how Llew O'Brien performs as the local member.”