About John Gibson – Independent Senator for Qld
Walter John Gibson was born in Armidale, NSW on 14 December 1948. At age 3 his mother and father separated and John and his mother Laurel moved in with his grandparents Walter and Dorothy Snell in Taylor St, North Hill Armidale where they resided until 1960. Known as Johnny he enjoyed the loving support of his family and many Uncles and Aunts who lived as close as next door and just up the road.
Life was not easy for the family, his grandfather Walter had been severely gassed in WW1 and although he had permanent employment with Armidale Council as a grader driver his health often suffered. This left John the responsibility of helping out in the huge vegetable garden, surrounded by colorful flowers and fruit trees. The family was close to self sufficiency with vegetables, fruit, citrus, nuts and the two family owned cows with the occasional feast of rabbit, craybobs, mushrooms and handpicked blackberries. The extreme winters of Armidale required wood for the combustion stove and heating and John proficient with an axe was known to chop wood for their own use and earned money by chopping wood for other families in the street. From the sale of vegetables and fruit, together with wood chopping John purchased his own 26″ two wheeler at age 8 and his own 22 Winchester rifle by age 10.
He attended Ben Venue Primary School in Erskine St until 1960. John represented the district in schoolboy rugby league and athletics. He was a popular figure among students and teachers, performed in many school plays and was leader of the student council. Many of the friendships John formed at Ben Venue School are still counted as his very best friends today.
Johns’ Grandfather Walter died in Newcastle Hospital in 1959. His grandmother had already moved to Newcastle and John and his mother followed in late 1961.
Living in Newcastle for a seasoned country boy set new challenges for John. Being the only breadwinner at age 12 John quickly adapted to big city life. He had a morning, afternoon, Saturday and Sunday paper run, and worked at a service station on Saturday afternoons. Within the first 12 months John was the school 13 year aged champion at Waratah Boys Primary and was in the Newcastle Schoolboys representative rugby league team. His mother Laurel went on to become the senior fashion buyer for Wynns Department Stores in Hunter St, Newcastle.
After completing 3 years of high school at Cooks Hill High (a Business and Commerce School). John graduated with the NSW Intermediate Certificate and despite vocational guidance recommending a business and commerce career John accepted an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner at the BHP Newcastle Steelworks. He often tells me that when working on a lathe immediately outside the Superintendents Office, his only thought was how to get the Superintendents Job. It took a few years more but John did achieve that goal and much more.
In 1966 John joined the RAAF as an Aircraft Engine Tech. He served at Williamtown, Richmond, Townsville,Darwin, Singapore and Butterworth Malaysia. John work on aircraft included Vampire Sabres and Mirage Jets and C130 Transport with P3c Orion Maritime Aircraft. In 1975 he was selected for Aircrew duties as a Flight Engineer on P3c Orion Aircraft. After a short stint at aircrew John returned to Williamtown where in 1981 he took his discharge after 15 years service.
John claims to have learnt his Leadership Skills in the RAAF. He tells many stories of outstanding leadership of some Officers and NCO’s who he followed and admired and other stories of Officers with power and authority who couldn’t lead ducks to water in a thunderstorm. He said he became quite rebellious of any rank that was incapable of carrying out their leadership responsibilities, and has the very same opinion today.
During his time at Butterworth Malaysia John was captain coach of the “Saints Rugby Union Team”. He was repeatedly selected for representative teams with the Commonwealth Forces North (CFN) and played Rugby Union in most states and provinces of Malaysia and Singapore in the “Malaysia Cup”
After discharge John again gained employment within the BHP Mining Group as Superintendent of the Mining Machinery Rebuild Services of Titan Mining and Engineering Company at Mayfield, Newcastle. After 3 years and a few promotions John at the encouraged of his then wife, a Proserpine Queensland girl sought and found employment in Mackay as General Manager of the General Electric – Goninan Engineering joint venture serving the Mining Sugar and Shipping industries of the Bowen Basin, Mackay and North Qld regions.
In 1985 and within 12 months of arriving in Mackay John was appointed Vice President of Mackay Regional Development Bureau and went on to serve 4 years including 2 as President/Chairman. John concurrently served in the management group of the Australian Institute of Management and was a keen supporter of Mackay Chamber of Commerce. During his time as Chief of the Bureau John chaired several Economic Opportunities Groups. Mackay Regional Development Bureau was tasked with economic development of 7 shires including Sarina, Broadsound, Belyando,Mackay and Whitsunday. John claims his best achievements while at the bureau included the merger of Tourism Mackay with the Development Bureau, the formation of the Mackay Conservatorium of Music, the formation of the University Campus (Marine Studies) and the handover of the Mackay Airport from the Federal Airports Corporation.
1986 seen John recognised for his achievements to the industries of Qld and was nominated as Queensland Business Executive (QBEX) of the year. John didn’t win that year but in 1987 won the Central Qld Business Executive of the Year.
John remained with General Electric Goninan (now UGL) through 1984 – 1989. During this time he also was appointed to the Board of Austmine. Austmine a group of mining service companies exporting 3-8 billion dollars of mining equipment and services. If you ask John what is your expertise he will quickly reply Senior Management and Industrial Relations. In fact he achieved national recognition during the Senator Button – Accord and 2nd Tier Industrial period. In 1987 he submitted to the Industrial Relations Court of Australia a proposed agreement between Employers – Unions and the Labor Government covering a strategy for the formation of the Metal Industry Awards and formal Agreements between all parties. His submission was accepted by Deputy Commisoner Keogh and described as a model to be used by all parties. This submission formed the outline of the Metal Industry Award of 1989-90.
In 1990 formed his own Heavy Engineering Service Company – Auspac Engineering Services Pty Ltd. The company successfully operated and was at the time recognised as one of the 10 largest suppliers to the BHP Group. The Auspac Group included Auspac Industries – Auspac Machinery & Equipment Sales – Auspac international Development Company. Leaving management of the group to others John became involved with consulting services for other companies. Usually under contract John managed many other companies throughout Queensland including Chief Executive of Australian Farm Machinery and AFM O’Pee Semi Trailer manufacturing – Area Manager of Komatsu and Regional Manager for Transfield Services.
John loves travel and in his business capacity has been on many trade missions and business trips to PNG – India – Malaysia – Thailand – Philipines – Singapore – Peru – Bolivia – Brasil. At age 55 John semi retired but at age 58 went back to work again undertaking several new consulting projects.
Always striving for perfection in productivity and performance of business John loudly protested modern management techniques in the industry he served. With the 1st and 2nd mining booms and the rush to export he was of the opinion that the heavy engineering and associated services were on track for a severe downfall. He claims that the influence of political correctness combined with crippling overheads and severely over regulated policies in Workplace Health & Safety – Quality Control – Environmental Regulation would make most business in the industry uncompetitive, unprofitable and unmanageable. He is highly critical of other management tools and believes that SAP/MAP/ERP combined with Sarbanes Oxley Accounting Standards which all relegated management to the back blocks and put the total operation of businesses back in the hands of Accountants.
He strongly believes that the decision by the courts to hold Directors of Companies directly responsible for the day to day management of the safe operations of companies was the straw that broke the camels back and lead to the total destruction and viability of small to medium businesses, a postion that they can never hope to recover from.
Testimony that some of Johns ideas and observations may have some relevance is the fact that our Government of all levels are broke. The Federal Government is broke – the State Governments are Broke – Regional Councils are Broke – Small Business has disappeared and medium to large businesses are not far behind being broke.
To say “Totally Pissed Off ” at the state of the country would be an understatement from John Gibson but nevertheless he claims its a good reason to retire. Turning his back on the industry he loved, admired and contributed to from apprentice to senior management he has for the last 5 years worked in the capacity of a casual truck driver. He claims he achieves his goals every day and that truck driving is the best and less stressful job he has ever had. Not to be completely defeated he has as a hobby developed a jobsite to help job seekers find jobs through his blogsite RealAussieJobs.com. Now at age sixty eight and from earlier this year he draws a part aged pension but still works as a casual truckie.
In regard to the 2016 Election John Gibson reckons that he can sit at home as an aged pensioner and watch his 23 odd grandchildren and step grandchildren play with their Ipods or get off his bum and have another attempt to have an input on getting the country right again –
- thus John Gibson Nominee for the Federal Senate representing Queensland.