BORG BOWS OUT
RETIRING MP HEADS BACK TO FARM
“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.