Gordon Simpson: 'greenie' MP, family man, inventor
GORDON Simpson, the former Sunshine Coast MP who convinced Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen to abolish Queensland's death duties, has been honoured as a man who lived by the state's motto "bold but faithful'.
Hundreds of people, including state and federal MPs, Sunshine Coast councillors, business people and long-time family friends joined the Simpson family to pay their respects to the former Member for Cooroora.
Senior LNP figures including Lawrence Springborg, Vaughan Johnson, Bruce McIvor, Alex Somlay, Andrew Powell, as well as former Labor Minister Stirling Hinchliffe were among those recognising Mr Simpson's legacy.
The National Party MP, who was 87, was remembered as a bloke who spoke his mind, a doer, a visionary, a greenie well before its was popular, and a people person.
But most importantly, he was a family man who life's foundation was his Christian faith.
Mr Simpson's daughter, former Speaker Fiona Simpson, and brother Jock led tributes to the former Yandina canefarmer at Suncoast Christian Church, where Mr Simpson was a driving force in the development of both the church and college campus.
"We lost a great, great man,'' close friend Dr Chas Gullo, who led the service, said.
Jock Simpson told of how his father, then a farmer in the Mallee region of Victoria, and mother, Norma, then a nurse, met at a dance.
Norma invited him to play a game with friends the next day. When he arrived, a ball landed at his feet from another player.
"As destiny would have it, it was the same girl he had met at the dance,'' Jock said.
Jock said his father was a pioneer and inventor, coming up with all sorts of devices to make farming life easier - including a huge 'farm king' tractor which became a prototype for others to come.
"He was brilliant. He really was a genius.''
Mr Simpson played A grade cricket until he was 39, was involved in all sorts of community and church groups and in 1968 moved his family to Queensland to establish dairying, beef and small crop farming before moving to Yandina to take up cane farming.
Jock said his father was a people person and so it was only nature he went into politics to follow on from Dave Low in 1974.
He said while politics could be a "dog eat dog" world, his father was never one for revenge, but walked in integrity and humility.
Jock said his father was never wishy-washy, spoke his mind and could rub people the wrong way.
He said despite being heavily involved in community service, his father was devoted to his family.
"My dad all through his life was very much a family man."
"I am so proud to be his son.''
Fiona Simpson said her dad was never "half hearted" about anything he did but "lived life at full gallop".
His long list of achievements included fighting for Nambour Hospital's growth, the University of the Sunshine Coast, protection of Noosa National Park, opposing high rise, the abolition of death duties, public housing in Nambour, and bringing AFL to the Sunshine Coast.
Ms Simpson said her dad "lost some bark with colleagues" after standing against a Club Med proposed for Noosa North Shore. People within the National Party wanted to know who this "blankety, blank greenie" was in their midst.
The Member for Maroochydore said it was her father who led the way in Queensland becoming the "low tax state", something that resulted in many people moving here.
She said while history often records most favourably for those with the best public relations team, her dad was a doer whose actions spoke louder than words.
"Dad was a servant leader who cared for people,'' Ms Simpson said.
Mr Simpson was one who had "tremendous faith", who believed in life after death through Christ.
For the past eight months, the 87-year-old fought a fierce battle against neuroendocrine small-cell prostate cancer.
"His faith was not shaken by his illness."
"Dad truly epitomises our state motto bold but faithful.''
In the end, he lived by the verse in Corinthians: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
VALE GORDON SIMPSON
Member for Cooroora, from 1974 to 1989, in a seat that covered half the Sunshine Coast.
Former wheat and sheep farmer in Victoria's Mallee country,
Honorary member of the Agricultural Engineering Society in Victoria due to his design and construction of a revolutionary tractor.
Well remembered for fighting for Coast's environment, including Noosa National Park, opposing sand mining and high rise.
He leaves behind his wife of 64 years, Norma, four children, Bruce, Helen, Jock and Fiona, and eight grandchildren.