Qld.: Woolworths part-timer takes "safe" Labor seat for the LNP

He does have a degree so he is no dummy but it does show how toxic the Labor brand has become. Tony Abbott is going to be leading another large band of happy warriors in Parliament next year if not sooner. Surely the Federal Greens and independents will now want to unshackle themselves from the corpse that the ALP has become

Campbell Newman's emphasis on politicians being servants of the people is very refreshing in the context of Green/Left arrogance and is in keeping with my prior impression of his attitude. I think he will be in power for a long time, mercifully for Queensland

HIS last job was part-time at Woolworths, he lives with his parents and now he's a Member of Parliament.

Neil Symes claimed by a whisker the long-time Labor stronghold of Lytton, on Brisbane's bayside, at the weekend's Queensland election. It was a win even the LNP did not predict.

In a sign of how much voters turned on the Bligh Government last Saturday, the 23-year-old will now swap his meagre Woolies deli pay packet for a six-figure salary and the surrounds of State Parliament in his first full-time job.

Premier Campbell Newman yesterday warned his large team they were not elected "for personal or financial reward" and were expected to act as servants of Queenslanders.

Mr Symes lives at southside Wishart - beyond the bounds of his new electorate - but said he was planning his first move out of home and into Lytton soon.

That would be a big step for Mr Symes, who said his parents helped out by easing his weekly food and rent costs "depending on circumstances".

But the newly-minted MP insisted he could still relate to the battlers he now represents because he learnt a lot door-knocking during the campaign.

"I know that petrol prices go up, I know that the cost of food goes up and electricity and water . . . so that's where I can relate to the people because I've seen it firsthand," he said.

"I was actually working in the supermarket sector through the seafood and delicatessen departments, so that's what I bring to Parliament is a good work ethic."

He replaced one-time ALP deputy premier and former attorney-general Paul Lucas, who retired after 15 years.

Before that, the seat had been held since its creation in 1972 by former federal Labor president and Queensland deputy premier Tom Burns.

Mr Symes narrowly beat Mr Lucas's expected successor and local identity Daniel Cheverton, who conceded via Facebook on Monday.

More than half (46) of the LNP's 77 MPs are parliamentary first-timers.

Mr Symes completed a criminology and human services degree in 2009 but put the skills into action for only about nine months while working at an Acacia Ridge community centre.

Since then, he has worked an average 30 hours a week at the Garden City Woolworths, quitting in January to contest the March election.

Mr Symes said he wore the badge of youngest LNP MP with "real honour".


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