Rob Pyne - Wikipedia

Rob Pyne

Robert John Pyne (born 23 April 1967) is an Australian politician, currently serving as a Cairns Region councillor as a member of the Socialist Alliance. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland from January 2015 until November 2017, representing the electorate of Cairns. Pyne was elected for the Australian Labor Party, but resigned to sit as an independent in March 2016; he then lost his seat to a Labor candidate at the 2017 election. Pyne was formerly a two-term councillor for the Cairns Regional Council. Pyne is the first quadriplegic member of any parliament of Australia.[1][2][3]

Rob Pyne
Robert Pyne 2.jpg
Member of the Cairns Regional Council
Assumed office
28 March 2020
Preceded byJohn Shilling
ConstituencyDivision 2
In office
25 March 2008 – 31 January 2015
Preceded byJeff Pezzutti
Succeeded byCathy Zeiger
ConstituencyDivision 3
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly for Cairns
In office
31 January 2015 – 25 November 2017
Preceded byGavin King
Succeeded byMichael Healy
Personal details
Robert John Pyne

(1967-04-23) 23 April 1967 (age 53)
Gordonvale, Queensland, Australia
Political partySocialist Alliance (from 2020)
Other political
Spouse(s)Jenny Pyne
FatherTom Pyne
ResidenceMount Sheridan, Queensland, Australia
Alma mater

Early lifeEdit

Pyne was born in Gordonvale, the son of former Cairns mayor Tom Pyne, and raised in the suburb of Edmonton.[4] He suffered a spinal cord injury in December 1991 through breaking his neck in a diving accident when he was 23 years old, which resulted in him becoming quadriplegic. He spent nine months recovering in the Princess Alexandra Hospital's Spinal Unit in Brisbane before going on to gain a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in History and Politics from James Cook University in 1999 and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Queensland University of Technology in 2002. In 1997, he served as President of the James Cook University Student Association.[5][6][7]


After attaining his degrees, Rob worked as a lawyer for the Public Trustee of Queensland, and as Regional Disability Liaison Officer at James Cook University Cairns before becoming a politician.[8] He first ran in 2008 as Division 3 councillor in the Cairns Regional Council elections, beating the former Deputy Mayor Terry James[9] He inspected the Cairns Regional Council head office prior to taking up his role to ensure it was wheelchair accessible.[10] He was re-elected in 2012.[11] Division 3 includes the suburbs of Bayview Heights, Lamb Range, Mount Sheridan, White Rock and Woree.[12] In March 2014 a Local Government formal complaint was filed against him for breaching Cairns Regional Council's media policy rules.[13]

In September 2013, he announced that he would contest Australian Labor Party preselection for the 2015 state election in the seat of Cairns, and in April 2014 he was nominated as the Labor candidate.[14][15] He won the election in January 2015, defeating sitting Liberal National Party MP Gavin King.[1]

In March 2015, Queensland's Parliament building underwent renovations to accommodate its first quadriplegic member of parliament, including removing two seats and desks in the chamber to allow Pyne wheelchair access.[16]

In January 2016, Pyne resigned from the Labor Party's left faction. On 7 March 2016, after being publicly critical of a number of government decisions, Pyne resigned from the Labor Party, saying that he was "no longer prepared to be told how to vote by someone from Brisbane". He moved to the crossbench to sit as an independent member. However, he stated he would continue to back Labor on confidence and supply matters.[17]

On 5 May 2016, Pyne submitted a private members bill to the Queensland Parliament to decriminalise abortion in Queensland.[18] In February 2017, he withdrew the bill after it became apparent it would not get sufficient support in its present form in Parliament. The issue of abortion was referred to the Queensland Law Reform Commission to consider a new framework for legislation in relation to the termination of pregnancy.[19][20] On 19 June 2017, the Queensland Attorney-General Yvettte D'Ath officially issued the Queensland Law Reform Commission with the terms of reference for a review and investigation into modernising Queensland's laws in relation to the termination of pregnancy.[21]

In 2020, Pyne joined the Socialist Alliance party.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

His father Tom Pyne was an Australian politician from 1961 until 2000. He was first elected to Mulgrave Shire Council in 1961 and served as deputy-chairman of Mulgrave Shire in 1976, chairman in 1979, 1982, 1983, 1988 and 1991 and elected Mayor of Cairns City Council in 1995. He died in October 2011.[23][24]

Rob Pyne lives in the Cairns suburb of Mount Sheridan with his wife Jenny and daughter Katie.[5]


  1. ^ a b The Cairns Sun, 4 Feb 2015, Pyne makes history, by Roz Pulley, p. 1
  2. ^ The Cairns Post, 25 Mar. 2015, Cairns MP Rob Pyne made Australian history after becoming first quadriplegic member of parliament, by Shannon Power,
  3. ^ ABC News Brisbane, 29 March 2015, Rob Pyne becomes the first quadriplegic elected to parliament in Australia, by Sharnie Kim,
  4. ^ Nancarrow, Kirsty (31 October 2011). "Tributes flow for ex-mayor". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b Spinal Injuries Queensland. "Rob Pyne". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014.
  6. ^ McGuire, David (1999). Up Front The Tom Pyne Story. ISBN 1875998772.
  7. ^ "Life after spinal injury". ABC news. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  8. ^ Roz Pulley (27 July 2002). "Shared ability for education". The Cairns Post.
  9. ^ Daniel Strudwick (1 May 2012). "State of play". The Cairns Post. p. 5.
  10. ^ "Tour clears way for councillor in chambers". The Cairns Post. 19 March 2008. p. 5.
  11. ^ Electoral Commission Queensland. "2012 Election Results". Archived from the original on 9 March 2014.
  12. ^ Cairns Regional Council. "Division 3".
  13. ^ "Cairns Regional Councillor Rob Pyne under fire for media policy breach over airport link". The Cairns Post. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  14. ^ Melanie Petrinec (14 September 2013). "Pining to win back the seat for Labor". The Cairns Post Weekend Post.
  15. ^ "Tourism boss seeks Labor pre-selection for seat of Cairns to take on LNP MP Gavin King". The Cairns Post. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  16. ^ ABC News Brisbane, 29 March 2015, Rob Pyne becomes the first quadriplegic elected to parliament in Australia, by Sharnie Kim,
  17. ^ Remeikis, Amy (7 March 2016). "Rob Pyne resigns from Queensland Labor Government". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  18. ^ "Queensland abortion bill: Rob Pyne says procedure 'should not be a crime'". ABC News. 10 May 2016. Archived from the original on 25 November 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  19. ^ O'Brien, Chris (28 February 2017). "Abortion decriminalisation bills withdrawn from Queensland Parliament agenda". ABC News. Archived from the original on 26 November 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  20. ^ Palaszczuk, Annastacia; Trad, Jackie; D'Ath, Yvette (28 February 2017). "Queensland Law Reform Commission to examine termination of pregnancy laws". Media Statements. Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 26 November 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  21. ^ "Home". Queensland Law Reform Commission. Archived from the original on 26 November 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  22. ^ Bainbridge, Alex (23 September 2020). "Councillor Rob Pyne: 'Democratic socialism is getting a wider hearing'". Green Left. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  23. ^ "Obituary: Tom Pyne". Courier Mail. 4 November 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Tom Pyne a worthy contributor in public office". 31 October 2011. Local Government Association of Queensland. Retrieved 11 February 2015.

External linksEdit

Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Gavin King
Member for Cairns
Succeeded by
Michael Healy