OUR SAY: O'Brien's breath of fresh air

IT is a positive start for new Member for Fairfax, Ted O'Brien, and we must say a breath of fresh air given the behaviour of some former representatives for Sunshine Coast seats.

Mr O'Brien is taking advantage of the Federal Parliament's winter recess by going on a listening tour of his electorate this week.

It provides stark contrast to his predecessor Clive Palmer, who was rarely seen in the region, treating it more as a country seat and seeing his responsibilities as being on a scale beyond the individual needs of his constituents.

Mr Palmer would argue the brief balance of power his Palmer United Party controlled in the Senate had enable him to extract benefits which directly improved the content of their hip pocket.

However a physical presence and the ability of voters to speak directly with their representative are fundamental to the democratic contract.

Mr O'Brien has promised the approach of taking a mobile office to the different communities which make up the electorate will not be a one-off.

And it is a sharp deviation from the example left by former Fisher MP Peter Slipper who, during the 2009 winter recess, ran up a taxi bill to taxpayers of $6200 in 15 days which he managed to exceed the following year when, despite broad criticism of his previous extravagance, he billed more than $20,000 after a five-week spendathon on taxis and airfares.

Mr O'Brien has long pursued a place in Parliament.

Having won one he has stepped off on the right foot.