Former journalist is new MLC

DANNY O’Brien has been announced as the Nationals’ new MLC for Eastern Victoria.

National Party delegates met Saturday morning to elect a new member following the announcement on Thursday afternoon by Peter Hall that he would retire from state parliament this week.

Mr O’Brien said it was an honour and a privilege to represent the Nationals and the people of Eastern Victoria in parliament.

“I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in Gippsland to put locals first,” he said.

“I will be providing strong representation in the Legislative Council for all communities in the Eastern Region.

“I am passionate about Gippsland and am committed to working with the Coalition government to deliver for the Eastern region.”

Mr O’Brien will take his seat in the Legislative Council at the next sitting of parliament and will represent the Nationals in the 2014 state election.

Currently chief of staff to federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Mr O’Brien is a former journalist at the Gippsland Times, Southern Cross and Win Television in Gippsland.

He is 39 years old and married with two children and was born and raised in Traralgon, where he was educated at St Gabriel’s Primary School and Catholic Regional College.

Mr O’Brien has previously worked as chief of staff to Nationals leader Peter Ryan, was a senior adviser to former Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile and was chief executive of the National Irrigators’ Council.

Nationals state director Jenny Hammett said Mr O’Brien had a keen appreciation of the diversity of the communities existing in Eastern Victoria and would be a strong voice in the parliament.

“Mr O’Brien has extensive connections throughout the Eastern Victorian region and broad experience that he will bring to the role,” she said.

Before the vote, Ms Hammett paid tribute to Mr Hall for his outstanding representation to the Gippsland community over the past 25 years.

“Not only has Peter Hall served the people of Victoria with distinction, but he has also been an outstanding local member in the Gippsland region and a great believer in the basic philosophies and objectives of this great party,” she said.

“We thank him for his contribution over 25 years.”