Llew O'Brien - federal coalition candidate for Wide Bay.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Llew O'Brien - federal coalition candidate for Wide Bay.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

SPEECH: Llew O'Brien talks unemployment, opens up about PTSD


High unemployment

Aging population

Mother dying young

Struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder


Thank you to his family and colleagues


FOR the first time in 26 years, the issues affecting the Wide Bay electorate have been raised during a parliamentary maiden speech.

The electorate's newly appointed LNP federal member Llew O'Brien presented his first speech to the house of representatives, highlighting the region's high unemployment, growing aged care sector and his personal struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.


Our issues raised for all to hear in parliament:


Mr O'Brien's speech started with a thank you to his voters in the region, before highlighting some of the best parts of the area, including cheap houses and proximity to great beaches.

The LNP member then highlighted the Wide Bay's long-standing struggle with a high unemployment rate.

"An issue that burdens Wide Bay is unemployment," Mr O'Brien said.

"Much of the Wide Bay division has historically seen high levels of unemployment, and unfortunately this is still the case.

"It is incumbent upon all levels of government to see this as unacceptable and to act on it."

Mr O'Brien highlighted the Federal Government's plans to deliver a $20 million jobs package for the Wide Bay, Burnett region.

Mr O'Brien also raised the issue of aged care funding.

"In Wide Bay, which has an ageing demographic," he said.

"The way we fund aged care now and into the future is a very real concern to me and my electorate."


Llew O'Brien opens up about his mother dying, and living with post-traumatic stress disorder:


When talking about his personal story, Mr O'Brien told the lower house about his mother, who he had cared for as a teenager before she passed away from motor neurone disease when the MP was just 16-years-old.

"Mum was given a year to live. She wanted to stay at home as long as she could, so at 15 I left school and took on a role as a full-time carer," he said.

"While she was dying, my mum taught me the most valuable lessons on how to live and treat people. Those

are the lessons that I bring to this place."

When discussing the high rate of mental health issues in his electorate, Mr O'Brien opened up about his own battle with post-traumatic stress disorder, after his career as a traffic accident investigator in the Queensland Police Service.

"It was a job where you'd be hit by the confronting sights, sounds and smells of absolute tragedy and trauma," he said.

"With a supportive employer in the Queensland Police Service, and my amazing wife, it took more than a year to get me back to the job I loved…

"I will more than likely need to manage my PTSD for the rest of my life."


Support network thanked:


In his closing statements, the MP thanked his parliamentary colleagues, his team and his family.

"Finally, to the people I treasure most in this world, my wife, Sharon, and my children Rees, William and Yve: I would not be here without your love and support," he said.

"I know that you now have to share me with 103,328 electors in Wide Bay, but it is through the strength of our family that I am able to give my best to my electorate as the federal Member for Wide Bay."