Flynn electorate is about TWICE the size of Tasmania
Ken O'Dowd on Facebook
19 hours ago
On Friday night in Emerald, I had the pleasure of presenting a ‘certificate of service’ to Mary and Steve Brimblecombe for their 50 Years Membership and long contribution to the LNP. Thanks again for your long term support and friendship. ... See MoreSee Less
6 days ago
In memory of a true friend Paul Neville.
Honoured today in the federation chamber.
Hinkler was a pretty big seat in those days, but in 2007 we had a redistribution of boundaries. Flynn became Flynn and it gave Paul the Bundaberg-Hervey Bay area, which he liked. He loved that area. But he also had very good, close ties to places like Gladstone and Ambrose—where he went into that hall, and that's where he got caught with the pap smear tests! Margaret still laughs her head off about that.
Paul used to always like to butt into a gathering. On this particular day, as was told at his funeral, he'd seen all these cars parked outside of the Ambrose hall, so he had to go inside. He thought there was a gathering of some sort. When he got inside, Paul said, 'What's going on here today?' They said: 'Oh, we're conducting women's pap smear tests. Do you want to join in?' Margaret thought that was a great joke.
After he retired from politics at the age of 72—that was back in 2013—we had a great celebration in Bundaberg. His colleagues came from all over the eastern coast of Australia to that farewell. The hall was packed. Unplanned, I suppose, Michael McCormack, now the Deputy Prime Minister, was the chairman for the night. After one hour and seventeen minutes of Paul speaking—and a lot of people had fallen asleep—Paul went on, and really protested when Michael went up and gave him the wind up!
I'll tell a little story. Paul had a big morning coming up the next morning. He said to the chairman of Bundaberg Sugar, Allan Dingle that he had to go to the toilet. When Allan realised that he'd been gone for some time, he gave him a ring on the phone and said: 'How are you going, mate? Are you all right?' He said: 'Yeah, I'm good. I'm home in bed!' It was an outstanding speech.
At the end of the night, Paul said, 'There are a lot of things I could have said that I didn't say in that speech,' but the chairman reminded him that it would have taken another two hours to get through it all! He was a delightful fellow. It was amazing at his funeral service that he had at least five priests conducting the service. Nowadays, Catholic priests are hard to come by in regional areas, and sometimes they have fill-ins, but there you were. I've never seen it in my life before, but he had five Catholic priests at his funeral. It was a great tribute to Paul.
He's gone now, but he won't be forgotten for many years for serving parliament and serving the people of Bundaberg. The Hinkler Hall of Aviation was one of his pets. He did a lot of good things for Bundaberg and Gladstone, which was formerly in Hinkler. The bridge on Kirkwood Road is named after Paul. Quite often he would ask: 'Ken, have you been out along Kirkwood Road? Is my name still on the bridge?' 'Yes, she's still there, Paul!' 'Good on ya.'
It was sad, but he knew that he was coming to the end of his life. Friends and I went and saw him a couple of months before he passed. He still had very good jokes. The same jokes he's told for 20 years, but he still told them to us! We asked him if he could give us a little song, and he did give us a song. Then the day nurse came and took him inside. I thought that was the last time I would probably see Paul. He had a lot of medical problems. We thought we'd lost him probably six months before that. I got a phone call on a Friday night to say that we probably wouldn't see Paul again. His family were being called in from Perth, and they came quickly. The next morning, Saturday morning, when the phone rang I thought, 'Well, here's the bad news coming.' They said, 'Oh, no, Paul's sitting up in bed having breakfast.' That was the warning, but he took the warning and had all of his affairs in order. A great man; a great life. ... See MoreSee Less