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Barry O'Sullivan (politician)

Barry O'Sullivan
Senator for Queensland
Assumed office
11 February 2014
Preceded by Barnaby Joyce
Personal details
Born (1957-03-24) 24 March 1957
Gogango, Queensland, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal National Party of Queensland
Occupation Police detective, grazier, property developer
Religion Roman Catholicism

Barry James O'Sullivan (born 24 March 1957), Australian politician, was appointed a member of the Australian Senate for the state of Queensland on 11 February 2014, representing the Liberal National Party (LNP). A former police detective, grazier, property developer and LNP executive treasurer, O'Sullivan was appointed by the Queensland Parliament to the Senate seat vacated by Barnaby Joyce, who had resigned to contest the House of Representatives seat of New England at the 2013 federal election.[1]


  • Background and early police career 1
  • Business career 2
  • LNP treasurer 3
  • Senate appointment 4
  • Personal life 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Background and early police career

O'Sullivan was educated at St Joseph's Wandal Convent and the Christina Brother College (now Cathedral College) at Rockhampton. Upon leaving school, he was employed as an office boy at the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin and the Longreach Leader newspapers before joining a road construction crew building the Beef Development Road from the Five Ways north of Cloncurry to the Gregory River Crossing.

O'Sullivan joined the Queensland police in 1976. His career commenced in Brisbane serving in Inala, the City Beat, the Metro CIB the Burglary Unit, the Fraud Squad and the Drug Squad.

In 1979 he transferred to the Rockhampton Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) and in 1981 moved to the Moranbah CIB (a one-man detective office) serving the police districts of Nebo, Glenden, Dysart, Moranbah, the eastern end of the Clermont district and the southern end of the Charters Towers District.

O'Sullivan was provided a research grant to attend the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy to study the profiling of serial offenders.

At the end of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, O'Sullivan was appointed as one of the Queensland "change" agents to implement the recommendations in the Central Police Region, which stretched from Bowen to Gladstone and across to the Northern Territory border. He was appointed Acting Staff Officer to the Assistant Commissioner in the central region, having the responsibility of supervising the project that restructured the framework of the Queensland Police Service in line with the Fitzgerald recommendations.

In 1990 O'Sullivan worked with the Corrective Services Commission by the Queensland Public Service to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations from the Black Deaths in Custody Royal Commission and the Kennedy Review into Queensland prisons.

Over some 15 years of police service, O'Sullivan was awarded – two imperial honours (Bronze medal for Bravery, the Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal); a Commissioner's Commendation for Bravery, an additional Commissioner's Commendation for Service and two Commissioner's Favourable Records.

Business career

Upon retiring from the police force, O'Sullivan established an Insurance Loss Adjusting practice which specialised in the preparation of briefs of evidence in civil litigation cases associated with world-wide catastrophic aviation accidents (principally international flights).

O'Sullivan also established Jilbridge (currently NewLands) – a vertically integrated construction and development business (both civil and structural) based in Toowoomba, which currently employs over 100 staff.

O'Sullivan and his family have operated livestock properties and contracted earthmoving services across leased and owned holdings at Cooyar, Ravensborne and Goondiwindi.

On 6 August 2014, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that O'Sullivan owned 50 properties, making his property portfolio the largest of any Parliamentarian in Canberra. The same analysis reports that the average Federal politician each owns 2.5 properties.[2]

LNP treasurer

In the lead up to the merger of the Liberal and National Parties, O'Sullivan was asked to assist in overseeing the registration of the new entity, the LNP. He was appointed honorary Treasurer. O'Sullivan served in role during the 2008 merger until his pre-selection to the Senate seat vacated by Barnaby Joyce, who had resigned to contest the House of Representatives seat of New England at the 2013 federal election.[1]

O'Sullivan served on the Candidate Review Committee between 2009 and 2013, going on to be appointed Chair of the Committee in 2010.

Senate appointment

On 12 September, the day the appointment was originally planned to take place, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman postponed the debate and vote until 17 October due to O'Sullivan's involvement in an ongoing investigation by the Crime and Misconduct Commission.[3] Newman again postponed the adjournment of parliament to affirm O'Sullivan's Senate appointment until at least February 2014, citing the need to give the CMC time to conclude their investigation.[4] The CMC investigation was to determine whether LNP officials (including O'Sullivan) had offered MP Bruce Flegg inducements to stand aside in the seat of Moggill to make way for Campbell Newman to enter parliament. In December 2013, the commission found no evidence for the allegations.[5]

In mid-2012, O'Sullivan was appointed by Queensland public works minister Bruce Flegg to conduct an audit of two state government agencies, GoPrint and GoPlant. The state opposition called the appointment "totally inappropriate", saying that an accounting firm should have conducted the audit rather than an LNP official. Premier Campbell Newman conceded that O'Sullivan's appointment was inappropriate, and that he was not aware of the appointment until it was reported in the media, but stressed that O'Sullivan was not paid for his work.[6]

O'Sullivan was appointed to the Senate by the Queensland Parliament on 11 February 2014.[1]

Personal life

Barry O'Sullivan married Annie Van Lathum of Barcaldine in 1976. The couple had four children. Annie died in 2008. The extended O'Sullivan family now includes 7 grand children.

O'Sullivan's grandson, Patrick, made headlines across the nation after he was flung from an amusement park ride while at a school fete just north of Toowoomba in 2013. Patrick fell 10 metres, suffered serious head injuries and was rushed to the Mater Children's Hospital in a critical condition.

According to the Register of Members' Interests, O'Sullivan has a large portfolio of real estate, with stakes in at least 49 investment properties.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Remeikis, Amy: LNP's Barry O'Sullivan headed for Senate, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 September 2013.
  2. ^ The many houses of Parliament: property-rich pollies 'have vested interest' in high prices, Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August 2014.
  3. ^ Queensland Premier Campbell Newman delays appointment of Barry O'Sullivan to Barnaby Joyce's vacant senate position,, 12 September 2013.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ LNP party treasurer Barry O'Sullivan in secret probe of GoPrint and GoPlant businesses, The Courier Mail, 12 July 2012.
  7. ^

External links

  • Summary of parliamentary voting for Senator Barry O'Sullivan on
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