From paddocks to politics

26 Jul, 2007 07:00 PM
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BINDI Bindi grower Brian Ellis had always intended to remain on the family farm but after a turbulent week, he could go from the paddock to Parliament as the State Liberal Party¹s third and latest member for the Agricultural Region.

Mr Ellis¹ life turned around when he was elected to Parliament¹s Legislative Council last week after fellow long-time Liberal Margaret Rowe resigned.

Mrs Rowe was forced to step down from the position after suffering ill health.

She failed to attend more than six days of Legislative Council sittings without applying for a leave of absence, which triggered an automatic contempt finding and led to Mr Ellis¹ election after a recount of 2005 election votes.

After being sworn in on Friday and conducting numerous media interviews, Mr Ellis, 57, who has been on the land his entire life, is now ready to get on with the job of standing up for the rights of farmers and regional West Australians.

Mr Ellis said his nine years serving the Shire of Moora, including five as deputy shire president, and other community committee roles, would give him the right blend of experience to succeed in politics.

He was confident his amalgamated knowledge would give him an important edge to help convey the genuine interests of farmers, and other regional West Australians.

Mr Ellis¹ political experiences in-clude being a member of the Rural Water Council that brought coveted valuable water supplies to farming areas using self-help pipelines.

He was also a director of the federally funded Wheatbelt Consultation Committee, which used its powers to stimulate development of the local business community.

Mr Ellis also ran for election at the 2006 CBH director elections in a move he described as designed to take advantage of his democratic rights as a grower.

³I support CBH and am not a critic of the company ‹ I always encourage people to get involved in what¹s happening at a local level,² Mr Ellis said.

Mr Ellis said his son would now manage the family farm, but he would remain active in running the business in between flying and driving around the state visiting his electorate, and spending time at his Geraldton office.

He said being an active farmer would help ensure he remained in touch with what¹s happening in regional WA.

Mr Ellis said drought assistance was one of the immediate issues he would tackle.

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