ELECTION DAY, AUSTRALIA VOTES: Ted O'Brien mingles with voters early in Buderim. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
ELECTION DAY, AUSTRALIA VOTES: Ted O'Brien mingles with voters early in Buderim. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily John McCutcheon

Second time lucky for O’Brien in Fairfax

WHETHER a long-awaited victory for Ted O’Brien ends up bittersweet or not was yet to be seen but for now the successful LNP candidate was celebrating passing the longest job interview of his life.

The 42-year-old Buderim father claimed the seat of Fairfax last night after his main opponent, Labor candidate Scott Anderson, conceded defeat.

The prize.

Replacing outgoing mining magnate Clive Palmer.

Whether it was as an MP in government or opposition was still unclear but the businessman with an extensive background in overseas markets said he would waste little time in pressing the claims of the region.

“My first task is to ensure the EIS (environmental impact statement) for the Sunshine Coast Airport upgrade gets the tick of approval from the Federal Government,” Mr O’Brien said.

“That’s job number one.

“The days of the Coast being taken for granted are coming to an end.”

Mr O’Brien lost by only a handful of votes to former Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer back in 2013.

The sting of that defeat only spurred him on to come back and secure a job he so desperately desired.

“There’s no doubt this has been the toughest and longest job interview of my life,” he said.

“Now that the people of Fairfax have given me the job it starts tomorrow.”

Mr O’Brien paid tribute to Mr Anderson and the other unsuccessful candidates, praising the positive, civil campaigns that had been run by all over the past two months.

“I want to thank Scott Anderson and the other candidates, each of whom I hold in the highest regard as first-class citizens and colleagues,” he said.

“I feel enormously humbled and honoured to be given the opportunity by the people of Fairfax to serve them.”

Much was made of Mr Palmer’s dismal attendance record in Canberra while many took issue with his lack of appearances in the Fairfax electorate.

Mr O’Brien said his primary responsibility would be to the Coast community, working as a team with Fisher’s new LNP MP Andrew Wallace to put the region first before politics.

“My job is to get stuff done,” Mr O’Brien said.

Labor’s Scott Anderson congratulated the victor, but warned he would be doing his utmost to ensure Mr O’Brien upheld his promises.

“(He must) make sure he does everything he promises because I'll be back in three years,” Mr Anderson said.

Mr O’Brien had 45.82% of the first preferences to Mr Anderson’s 21.67% after 35 of 42 polling booths counted last night.