Tributes flow for celebrated former Queensland MP

Former Queensland politician Vaughan Johnson OAM, who was a strong advocate for regional Queensland, and a supporter of the road freight industry, sadly passed away on Sunday at the age of 75.

Vaughan spent 25 years in Queensland Parliament as a member of the National Party, and subsequently the Liberal National Party.

He retired from politics in 2015 as one of Queensland’s longest-serving MPs.

Vaughan was born in Bourke, NSW, in 1947, but moved to Quilpie in Queensland as a child. He worked as a grazier and contractor before establishing his political career, which began on the local council before winning the seat of Gregory in late 1989.

His first speech to Parliament was on March 7, 1990, where from the outset he set out his purpose to represent the best interests of country and regional Queensland.

In June 1998 Vaughan returned to the backbench after the Borbidge government lost the election and he undertook a number of roles over the years as the Opposition spokesperson in several different portfolios.

Then in 2020, he was awarded a medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List.

The Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) has joined many in mourning Vaughan’s passing.

“Vaughan was certainly a character and on occasions could be controversial but was authentic in every way and enjoyed many friendships across the parliament and Queensland generally,” said the QTA, in an email sent out in his honour.

“On a personal level and as an industry we enjoyed a great friendship with Vaughan for almost 30 years. Many of us shared trips and social occasions where the subject was almost always centred around country Queensland. As a friend or as your boss (as a minister) or when briefing him on an industry issue he was unfailingly respectful and principled in his approach.

“He was a diligent and committed supporter who always made himself available and did his best as a champion of the bush. His word was a bond he would not break, was great company and he was as reliable as the sunrise to be persistent in any cause he pursued. What more could you ask for.

“We are deeply saddened and pass on our thoughts and condolences to his family.”

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