Stanthorpe Border Post - - FRONT PAGE - Sean Teuma

“THANK you for giv­ing me a chance and be­liev­ing in me. It’s been an ex­tra­or­di­nary priv­i­lege.”

With just 16 words, Lawrence Spring­borg took the chance to pay homage to the res­i­dents of the

South­ern Downs who voted him in as their mem­ber of par­lia­ment for 28 years.

For the first time in the his­tory of the South­ern Downs elec­torate, the name “L Spring­borg” didn’t em­bla­zon bal­lot pa­pers on Satur­day.

To say Mr Spring­borg has made the seat of the South­ern Downs his own in the past 16 years is an un­der­state­ment.

Since the elec­torate was formed in 2001, the low­est num­ber of in­di­vid­ual votes re­ceived for Mr Spring­borg was 62.79 per cent in 2015.

Now, the man who came into his first ad­dress to par­lia­ment with­out a pre­pared speech, has bid farewell.

Mr Spring­borg said he never pic­tured he would have a par­lia­men­tary ca­reer span­ning 28 years.

“I re­mem­ber mak­ing the point that maybe 15 years would be long enough and I’ve al­most dou­bled that,” Mr Spring­borg said.

“I could’ve sought to go on but I wanted to leave while I still had the sense of ser­vice and con­nec­tiv­ity with the elec­torate.

“To me it’s the per­fect time to de­cide to leave.

“I’m go­ing out at a time of my own choos­ing, rea­son­ably well sat­is­fied that I’ve done what I can do.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought I would al­most dou­ble that, and it’s been a great priv­i­lege.

“How good is it to rep­re­sent the place where your fam­ily, in­clud­ing your chil­dren, has lived for five gen­er­a­tions?”

An in­ter­est in pol­i­tics started dur­ing his school days and Mr Spring­borg said that turned into a de­sire for a ca­reer in par­lia­ment.

“From around the age I was 10 I was re­ally in­ter­ested and then, when I got into my teenage years, I was re­ally in­ter­ested in getting into par­lia­ment,” he said.

“My late best friend and I al­ways used to talk about it dur­ing school and joined the Young Na­tion­als.

“That was in 1984 when I was 16 and I had never went to a meet­ing. I re­ceived a call in 1986 from the pres­i­dent of the In­gle­wood branch who said I should come along to a meet­ing.

“I told him I didn’t want to but he even­tu­ally conned me into it and I came back as the sec­re­tary.

“Within three years of that, I was in par­lia­ment.

“For me it was a case of ‘I’m go­ing to ac­cept it as I find it’.

“The most in­ter­est­ing ob­ser­va­tion was that most things in life are about tim­ing and op­por­tu­nity.

“You can work hard and be ded­i­cated but you need a few things to go your way, and take the chance.”

Re­main­ing in the

South­ern Downs is on top of the agenda for Lawrence as he pre­pares to move into the next phase of his life.

Mr Spring­borg said there were el­e­ments of par­lia­men­tary life he will miss and those that he is glad to see the back of.

“I can’t say that I’m feel­ing any great sense of nostal­gia,” Mr Spring­borg said.

“I must ad­mit that be­cause I en­joy be­ing around peo­ple and hav­ing the in­ter­ac­tion, I will miss that bit.

“I won’t miss the par­lia­ment argy-bargy and I will not miss the travel.

He said he wouldn’t be mak­ing any bold de­ci­sions about what the fu­ture years hold in store.

“I had no other in­ten­tions other than go­ing back to my farm,” Mr Spring­borg said.

“I’ve had peo­ple ask if I’m go­ing to go back into pol­i­tics again, or ‘are you go­ing to go into Can­berra’?

“That’s not even on my radar.

“I’ve just had 28 years in pol­i­tics and I’m not in the busi­ness of say­ing yes and no and what­ever else, I just don’t know where my life leads me.”

By his side since be­fore be­ing elected has been wife Linda.

The cou­ple mar­ried a month and a half prior to his first elec­tion vic­tory in De­cem­ber 1989.

She’s been a steady rock through­out, Mr Spring­borg said.

“She sup­ported me and raised the chil­dren in my ab­sence. I was a re­source provider but not much use be­yond that.

“If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have had the free­dom to do this,” he said.


MOV­ING ON: The now for­mer South­ern Downs MP Lawrence Spring­borg re­flects on his decades in Par­lia­ment.


Linda and Lawrence Spring­borg at the Stan­thorpe Show Ball ear­lier in the year.


Lawrence Spring­borg with Premier Rus­sell Cooper, Penny Cooper and Mally McMurtie be­fore he be­came the youngest per­son elected to State Par­lia­ment in De­cem­ber 1989.


Lawrence was al­ways a bit of a joker dur­ing ques­tion time in the house.

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