Phillip Thompson was sitting on the sofa with the TV on and empty beer bottles at his toes when his girlfriend marched in.
‘Stand up,’ she mentioned.
It could have been three lengthy years since Thompson had returned a damaged man from Afghanistan, however he nonetheless knew an order when he heard one.
Jenna had stood by the conflict veteran as he battled PTSD and long-term reminiscence loss – the autumn out from the roadside bomb that exploded one metre in entrance of him in 2009.
However he had been wallowing in his distress lengthy sufficient and he or she knew he now wanted to honour his mates, lots of who had not made it residence.
Grabbing her accomplice by the hand, she led him to the mirror and so they stood collectively.
‘Who’re you?’ she requested.
It is that ‘kick up the bum’ from his now spouse that Thompson credit for getting his life again and catapulting him to Australia’s Federal Parliament because the Liberal member for Herbert in North Queensland.
Chatting with Each day Mail Australia throughout a uncommon break from the handfuls of conferences which have stuffed his first days since being elected, Thompson mentioned the darkish days had been simply as essential as those he was having fun with now.
‘It is one thing I do not draw back from… it makes me who I’m,’ the fresh-faced Liberal MP mentioned.
‘It was a day in, time out feeling of probably not realizing who I used to be. I felt like I might let down my staff as a result of I needed to go away them to come back residence.
‘There’s these combined emotions of id, combined emotions of letting your folks down – as nicely as having a couple of additional drinks than what I ought to have.
‘I went by means of a reasonably tough time for some time, (it wasn’t) only a day or so.
‘However my spouse gave me a pleasant kick within the bum that simply modified how I seen and did issues.’
Thompson on why he entered politics
One in every of three youngsters, Thompson and his siblings had been raised by their single mom on the Sunshine Coast.
Their upbringing was removed from the glitzy vacationer haunts of Noosa.
In 12 months 9, at simply 15, he dropped out of faculty and picked up work as a concreter, however knew that he needed to do one thing extra along with his life.
He realised that he needed to hitch the military, however having left college at such a younger age, could not stroll straight in.
PHILLIP THOMPSON – FROM AFGHANISTAN TO PARLIAMENT:
1988: Thompson is born to a single mom and grows up on the Sunshine Coast.
– He drops out of faculty in 12 months 9 and takes up a job as a concreter
2006: Thompson places himself by means of night time college to realize the grades wanted to hitch the Australian Defence Power
– He joins 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment at age 17
2007: Is deployed to East Timor on his first mission
2009: Now 21, Thompson is distributed to hitch the conflict in Afghanistan
– October 19: Throughout a routine patrol, a roadside bomb explodes one-metre in entrance of Thompson. He suffers long-term reminiscence loss and mind injury
2014: Thompson participates on the 2-14 Invictus Video games in London
2016: He takes up a training position on the Invictus Video games in Orlando, USA
2018: Is known as Queensland’s Younger Australian of the 12 months
– Is pre-selelcted as LNP candidate for the seat of Herbert, north Queensland
2019: Wins seat of Herbert at federal election with a large 7% swing
He put himself by means of night time college and was accepted into the first Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, at 17.
‘In 2007 I went to East Timor after which in 2009 I went to Afghanistan. On 19 October I used to be wounded in motion – an IED (Improvised Explosive System) detonated inside one metre of me.
‘I had a light mind harm, however I nonetheless have listening to loss and might’t hear in my proper ear.’
Whereas Thompson got here again, lots of his mates did not.
However being again in Australia wasn’t straightforward, both. Funerals grew to become commonplace in his diary as lots of these he served alongside dedicated suicide.
However after being pulled out of his darkish days by his spouse, Thompson realised he was one of many fortunate ones and began advocating for veterans’ affairs.
It was his work with veterans that noticed him named Queensland Younger Australian of the 12 months in 2018 – and the title helped him achieve backing inside the Liberal Nationwide Get together to be their candidate of selection for the seat of Herbert.
‘My associates who died abroad or succumbed to their “conflict inside” again right here, they’re the rationale I struggle so arduous,’ Thompson mentioned.
‘(They’re) the rationale I put my hand as much as be in politics, amongst others.’
The conflict veteran’s marketing campaign primarily started at his pre-selection, giving him simply 12 months earlier than the polling cubicles opened to get his identify on the market.
His understanding of the area and its folks – and what makes it totally different to different components of Australia – gained Thompson loads of assist, and on Could 18th, votes.
He stood agency in his assist of the controversial Adani coal mine, realizing that it’s going to convey jobs to a area the place unemployment in lots of areas is triple the nationwide common and alternatives are sometimes restricted.
Thompson on the ‘Cease Adani Convoy’
Whereas he seemed a positive factor a number of months out from the election to take the seat of the sitting Labor member, he could not imagine his luck when Bob Brown and his ‘Cease Adani Convoy’ rolled by means of the voters.
The convoy of a whole bunch of largely city-dwelling Greens – many from as far south as Tasmania and Melbourne – informed these inside his Queensland voters to place local weather change forward of a brand new coal mine and the roles it will convey.
Whereas it backfired, spectacularly, with the stunning swing of 4 per cent to the Liberal Get together throughout Queensland.
Even post-election, speak of the Greens convoy nonetheless fires Thompson up.
‘Mate, I could not imagine it,’ he mentioned.
‘In central and north Queensland we do not get informed what to do by some latte-sipping leftie from down south.
‘They don’t seem to be from right here, they clearly do not know what they’re speaking about and we simply will not get dictated to by somebody once you’re not even from right here.
‘I again Adani. I put on a begin Adani t-shirt. It’s actually a job multiplier for Queensland.
‘When extremists come as much as inform us they’re way more superior and we don’t know what we’re doing, after they’re not even remotely from this area… it does not fly.
‘Townsville’s put its religion in me now and I will not take it without any consideration.’