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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 5987


Mr NEUMANN (9:54 PM) —I am speaking tonight about a remarkable individual. His name is Herbert Morton Olm. He was born at Ropeley in the Lockyer Valley on 7 August 1908. He is still with us. He is a much loved and respected and popular figure in the Laidley Tabeel aged-care home. Until recently he lived on the family farm at Ropeley with the support of his family. His grandson Joshua works for me as an electorate officer and is the treasurer of my branch of the ALP, the Raceview Flinders branch in Ipswich.

Herb is an interesting character. Herb joined the Labor Party in 1930. He would have joined earlier but in Queensland at that stage you had to wait until you were 21 to join the Labor Party. In Queensland now you can join the Labor Party at 15 years of age. He was made a life member of the party in 1978. In 1936 he married the love of his life, Maud, and they were blessed with eight children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1934, one of only three in Gatton at the time, and he is Queensland’s longest serving JP. The most remarkable thing about his life is this: he lived all his life in the Lockyer Valley, which has always been a fairly conservative area. It is part of my electorate but traditionally it has voted conservative. He has been involved in many cooperative and society activities in the Lockyer Valley and is a Lockyer legend. In fact, the former conservative state member for Lockyer described him as a one of the 10 most important people in the Lockyer Valley.

One of the most interesting things about Herb is that in 1960 he managed to convince a very young police officer called Bill Hayden that he should run for the seat of Oxley. Oxley was created in 1949 and held by the then health minister, Don Cameron. Oxley had existed before, but it had been renamed Griffith in 1934. But it had never been held by the Labor Party. Bill won it with a remarkable swing of 9.4 per cent. Herb took nine months off from the family farm to go full-time campaigning with Bill Hayden. Herb wrote many speeches. Bill was a young fellow and he had Dallas with him in an old car and they drove around all over the place. Herb introduced Bill to many farmers, cattlemen and people involved in all kinds of activities in the Lockyer Valley.

On Herb’s 100th birthday, Bill Hayden spoke movingly and brilliantly at the Gatton Shire Hall. Many people were there, including the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot. There were messages from all and sundry, from political leaders and one from the Queen. The mayor of the Lockyer Valley Regional Council was there, and I was honoured to be there among the 160 people. Bill attributed much of the swing that he got in 1961 to Herb. He spoke almost tearfully about what Herb had done for him: the mentoring, the advice, the counselling, the people Herb had introduced him to. His sage help was invaluable in Bill winning in 1961. I have Bill’s old seat and it is very much as it was in 1961, except I have got Boonah instead of Esk.

People like Herb who have lived all their lives campaigning and being involved in community activities like Blue Care and many other voluntary things should be honoured. We should cherish them. People like Herb are not just an institution and a legend in the Lockyer Valley; they are to be admired and respected. His generation is a great generation. His contribution to political life and community life in the Lockyer Valley cannot be underestimated. I want to pay tribute to Herb and thank him for his generational contribution: now his grandson is helping me and his family has been involved in helping run Labor Party campaigns and helping the cause of the labour movement for generations. Thank you, Herb, for the life you have lived. Thank you for what you have done for me, Bill Hayden and all those people who hold the principles of the Labor Party and the labour movement so dear. Well done, Herb.

Question agreed to.