New MPs ready to make voices heard
TWO of the newest members of parliament are preparing for their first terms in the house and are ready to ensure the voices of Ipswich voters are heard.
Ipswich MP Ian Berry and Ipswich West MP Sean Choat began to get accustomed to their new surroundings yesterday as part of Campbell Newman's LNP government, which swept to power in last week's election.
The two men arrived at the home of Queensland politics via differing routes - but have the same goals in mind.
Both candidates heard the calls for more police and complaints about the soaring cost of living from their electorates, and when the cabinet was announced, they planned to make their concerns heard.
As Mr Berry embarks on a new career, he believes his successful campaign has ended his successful 36-year-career as a solicitor.
It included a term as Queensland Law Society president and establishing his own firm, Berry Solicitors, in Brisbane St 21 years ago. The firm is now up for sale, but given the 18% swing he faced in Ipswich, Mr Berry made no plans to offload his business before election day.
The father-of-four first encountered his own frustration with the Bligh government while working on legislation in 2009.
He felt the government's approach was "shabby" and didn't allow enough consultation with stake holders - sometimes only 12 hours notice.
"It was only after working with them on policy that I found out about the debt," he said.
He acknowledged former Ipswich MP Rachel Nolan as a gracious candidate.
"There was a movement on and I think people just got caught up in that movement."
After contesting the two previous elections, Mr Choat said his persistence had finally paid off.
A father of three, he formerly worked as a training program developer for QR National.
He is determined to repay the faith of those who voted for him.
"People have put a lot of faith in me and I'm going to earn their trust and I will deliver for them," he said.
"I believe we have been taken for granted and I will work with both the Somerset and Ipswich councils and Shayne Newman for the betterment of the community."
Mr Choat joined the LNP 10 years ago when he was 32.
He was soon urged to nominate for preselection by Ipswich councillor Trevor Nardi and former Esk Mayor Jean Bray.
"People are really hurting. The cost of living is something I hear about every day and people are worried about having enough money in the bank to pay bills and buy groceries."