I was born in Burnie, Tasmania. I grew up, studied, fell in love and married Julie all in the great place called Northern Tasmania.
As a boy I developed my passion for community service through being elected to my school SRC, and participating in and organising charitable causes including the World Vision 40 Hour Famine.
Having decided to become a school teacher, I achieved my two degrees (Bachelor of Applied Science and Bachelor of Education) while developing new interests in youth work, student politics and starting my own business. I commenced my teaching career in local public secondary schools in 1996 where I taught maths, science and IT. The work of a teacher was incredibly satisfying to me, especially in being able to be a positive influence and support to some wonderful young people.
I’ve always been involved in many local community organisations – especially those serving young people and because of this I was greatly honoured to receive the Service Award from the Tasmanian Association of the Order of the British Empire for 2001. Later, I was named Tasmanian Young Achiever of the Year for 2002 by the National Australia Day Committee for community work and regional initiative.
In 2002 I was elected to my local council, Meander Valley Council, which was a great experience and training ground for later public office. I’ve also served on the boards of numerous community groups, was a director of a local retail music company and ran my own business (training consultancy and financial services agency) from home.
Life got really hectic in 2004 when I was fortunate to be chosen by the Liberal Party to contest the October 9 Federal election – which I won by 3281 votes. The Federal seat of Bass was one of the first seats to contribute to the reelection of the Howard Government for a historic fourth term.
During my term I worked on a number of Government policy and parliamentary committees. My passion was always in the area of education – partly because of my teaching background. But also because as a family man, I have a strong personal focus on improving educational and training opportunities to help our young people find a job and to achieve their potential in life.
Some of my proudest achievements during this time include: my 200km Walk for Meg; securing record funding for road, infrastructure and education facilities; forming and leading the North East Community Task Force resulting in genuine support for a community in crisis; and developing and implementing historic new support for shipping between the Bass Strait Islands and mainland Tasmania.
I was narrowly unsuccessful at the 2007 election and for the next two years I was proud to serve the Clifford Craig Medical Research Trust as its CEO. These were very positive experiences for me and I am grateful for them because they have helped to shape and mature as a person and as a parliamentarian. The people of Bass honoured me by electing me as Member for Bass in the Tasmanian Parliament at the March 20, 2010 election. Topping the poll in my electorate was a singular honour and one which I strive to be worthy of in my daily work. As a member of the Tasmania Liberals, I have the roles of Shadow Minister for Education and Skills; and Shadow Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology.
I’m very lucky to have a great family. My wife Julie and I have three young children Eloise, Thomas and James. They have been my constant support and encouragement to continue the huge challenge of public office despite the big sacrifice this involves.
I strongly believe in the time-honoured values of personal integrity, self discipline and giving my very best efforts – all underpinned by my Christian faith.
I love Tasmania and want to play my role in helping Tasmanians become the happiest people, enjoying the best quality of life in Australia.