Rob Pyne

Rob Pyne Biography

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Rob Pyne Cairns

Rob Pyne was born in Gordonvale and raised in Edmonton, south of Cairns. He was born to Tom Pyne and his wife Marion. Subsequently he attended Hambledon State School and Gordonvale State High School. While growing up he loved playing rugby league, exploring and swimming in the local creeks and riding motor bikes.

Who is Rob Pyne?

Robert John Pyne (Rob Pyne) is a Cairns based politician in the state of Queensland in Australia. He was the Member for Cairns in the Queensland Parliament (2015 – 2017). In addition, he was a Councillor on Cairns Regional Council (2008 – 2015) and (2020 – 2024).

Public Service

Rob worked as a Queensland Government clerk until breaking his neck in an accident in 1991, becoming a quadriplegic. He then spent nine months in rehabilitation at Princess Alexandra Hospital.

After that, Rob decided to further his education. He also became active in advancing the rights of people with a disability.  

This included volunteering for disability advocacy groups and services, such as Rights in Action, Independent Living Support Association and a number of peak disability representative groups.

Subsequently, he completed a BA in History and Politics followed by a Law Degree. While studying he became President of the James Cook University Student Association, giving him his first taste of elected office.

James Cook University

Afterwards, he worked at James Cook University (JCU) from 2000 to 2007 as a Regional Disability Liaison Officer. Following completion of that contract, he campaigned full-time for a position on Cairns Regional Council.

Rob Pyne
Rob Pyne

Rob Pyne Cairns Regional Council

As a result, Rob Pyne was elected as the Councillor for Division 3 on Cairns Regional Council in 2008 and Re-Elected in 2012. Rob contested the 2015 state election against a conservative opponent.

Rob Pyne Member for Cairns

Consequently he was elected to represent the electorate of Cairns in the State Parliament, where he served one term. However, Rob believed the major political parties had neglected Far North Queensland and were not doing enough on the issues of climate change and local government corruption.

As a result, he resigned from the ALP in 2016 becoming an Independent. However without major party support and courtesy of an unfavourable electoral re-distribution, he lost his seat at the subsequent election.

Rob Pyne
Rob Pyne

Cairns Regional Council Return

Never a ‘quitter’ in the game of life, Rob embarked on a campaign to represent his hometown of Edmonton in South Cairns. Thus, at the 2020 Queensland local government elections he won Division 2 and consequently, returned as a Councillor on Cairns Regional Council.

Rob Pyne subject of LGAQ Claim

In 2018 the CEO of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), Greg Hallam sued Rob Pyne and others for $2.25 million in damages over Facebook posts.

These posts allegedly defamed him by likening him to Star Wars character Jabba the Hutt. Subsequently, Hallam filed a claim in the District Court in Brisbane. The claim also alleged that local government corruption campaigners Jason Ward, Lyn O’Connor, her husband Desmond O’Connor and myself had defamed him.

The matter became subject to a landmark trial in the Cairns District Court, becoming the longest defamation case in that jurisdiction.

However, the action was to support Queensland mayors and the LGAQ to reduce criticism and silence whistle-blowers. Later Rob penned Council Mayors silencing dissent outlining the motivations behind the LGAQ funded claim.

Rob Pyne Interview

Rob Pyne Wife

Rob’s academic achievements and his achievements in being elected to Council and Parliament were all ‘firsts’ for a person with quadriplegia. Indeed he has broken down many barriers for people with a disability. However, none of this would have been possible without the support of his wife Jenny.

Happily married to Jenny for 30 years, the pair had one child, Kate. Rob describes family time during Kate’s upbringing as the happiest time of his life.

In July 2022 Jenny tragically died of a heart attack, leaving Rob to continue his journey with the help of an enthusiastic band of support workers, who assist him on a daily basis.

Rob Pyne, Jenny Pyne and Kate Pyne
Rob Pyne Jenny Pyne and Kate Pyne

Rob Pyne Division 5

Following Jenny’s death, Rob decided he would not renominate for a position on Cairns Regional Council. He believed it would be enough of a struggle just to liven on his own in the community (without Jenny) and there would be no chance of running in another campaign.

However, thanks to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) life was not as cruel as it had been in the past for people with disabilities. Consequently, Rob receive support from truly wonderful support workers who encouraged him. In the end Rob decided to run for Division 5 of Cairns Regional Council 

Rob said, “Division 5 has a lot of battlers (struggling families) and it would be an honour to represent them and be a voice for them. I see the inner suburbs as a really, strong area to grow progressive politics in the future.”

“Fighting against inequality and for a liveable climate have been the most important things in the world to me. I believe in Division 5 we can create cultural change that will see these values shared by the whole community.”

Rob Pyne Election

Despite the torrential rain and oppressive heat, Rob was successfully elected to Division 5. He became the first Cairns Regional Councillor ever elected in three different divisions.

Rob Pyne Book

Struggle and Resistance in the Far North is Rob’s account of his own life and the region’s political past. He also spends his time working on his tropical garden in Cairns.

Rob continues to be active with his website “Cairns and Tropical Gardening”. This includes generating and maintaining content on tropical gardening and ‘all things Cairns’ on his website and social media outlets.

You can also contact Rob Pyne on Linked In and on other social media platforms.

Rob Pyne Archives

We have collated a number of articles, postings and videos constituting a Rob Pyne archive.

Tom Pyne Archives

Tom Pyne was born in the town of Babinda in 1935. He was the youngest of five children born to John Samuel and Katherine Hannah Pyne.

Struggle & Resistance in the Far North

Struggle and Resistance in the Far North, is a glimpse into Far North Queensland politics, history and culture.

Far North Queensland

Life began for me in the Far North Queensland town of Gordonvale on the 23rd of April 1967. Situated about 23 kilometres south of Cairns, Gordonvale was a small country town of about 2000 people.

PA Hospital Spinal Unit

The Princess Alexandra Hospital Spinal Unit was somewhere I had never heard of or thought about. I spent most of 1990 and 1991 settling down to my new domestic life.

Fighting Fossil Fuel

One of my obsessions as an MP was my opposition to the new Adani coal mine. From around 2000 onwards, climate change and the fossil fuel industry became central concerns to me.

Rob Pyne: Freedom of Speech Attack

We now see freedom of speech under attack across the globe. However, silencing people is not a win, real victory is won on the strength of ideas.

Council Mayors Silencing Dissent

Council Mayors silencing dissent through their actions. The Mayors of Queensland, through their association, the LGAQ, worked to bankrupt critics and silence dissent.

Cairns Politics and Cairns Regional Council

Cairns politics at Council elections is a contest between the Conservative Team Eden and Cairns Unity & the Progressive Community First Team.

Other Material

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