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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.
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. These included 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.
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 was elected as a Councillor to Cairns Regional Council in 2008 and Re-Elected in 2012. Likewise, as a committed Socialist, Rob contested the 2015 state election against a conservative opponent. 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, he lost his seat at the subsequent election.
A Return to Council
Never a ‘quitter’ in the game of life, Rob embarked on a campaign to represent his hometown of Edmonton in his beloved South Cairns. Thus, the 2020 Queensland local government elections he won Division 2. Consequently, returning 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.
The action was to support Queensland mayors and the LGAQ to reduce criticism and silence whistle-blowers. Council Mayors were silencing dissent with an LGAQ funded claim.
Under the Queensland Local Government Act no bankrupt person is allowed to serve on a Queensland council. With no capacity to meet a damages claim, the LGAQ actions seem destined to push Pyne out of elected office.
Rob Pyne – Family Life
Rob’s academic achievements and his achievements in being elected to Council and Parliament have all been firsts for a person with quadriplegia. Indeed he has broken down many barriers for people with a disability. Rob remains happily married to Jenny and has one child, Kate. He has written Struggle and Resistance in the Far North recalling events from 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 politically active. However, these days his focus is online as Champion of the Underdog. This includes generating and maintaining content on his blog, podcast and social media outlets. He welcomes your support.
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.
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.
Rob Pyne 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.
Freedom of Speech Under 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.
Exit Stage Left
Exit stage left was the only way I could ever leave politics. I knew by 2022 I was facing my ‘political execution’ by Greg Hallam and the LGAQ.