Staying grounded at the top
A DAY IN THE LIFE - David Littleproud
AFTER a little over six months as a federal parliamentarian, David Littleproud has had time to understand the gravity of the task he has undertaken.
"The first time I walked into the chamber it took my breath away,” the Federal Member for Maranoa said.
"I began to understand where I was and what I was doing.
"I had to pinch myself, but you come to terms with it.”
Mr Littleproud said he knew that you couldn't please everyone.
"You just keep on fighting and people will respect that, even if they disagree with you,” he said.
"And you certainly need to be able to take an uppercut every now and then too.”
Mr Littleproud said the most surreal moment came in his first few weeks in Canberra.
"The Prime Minister invited all the new ministers to the Lodge for dinner and I was first to arrive,” he said.
"He was very casual and relaxed and offered to give me a tour of the residence.
"It was as he and I were walking through this historic home that I started to realise, 'Wow, I am a part of this'.”
It's certainly been a busy time for the new member.
"From the election in July until the Christmas break, my staff figured out I'd been home for only 15 or 16 nights, Mr Littleproud said.
"There's the very structured time in Canberra and then to my electorate, which is wonderfully diverse.
"I need to be pretty flexible and there's a lot of travel over an area three times the size of Victoria, but the people are basically the same.
"Everyone is so respectful, I cop a bit of cheek, but never malice.”
Mr Littleproud said he always gets a feel for each town via the local pub.
"I usually drop in there, wherever I am and test the temperature, see if the locals are happy to see me,” he said.
"The beer is always cold and I've had some great chats about all sorts of things.
"Sometimes at the end of the chat, they'll look at me and say, 'So who are you mate?'.”
This weekend, our Federal Member is off to Alpha, near Barcaldine for a Twenty20 cricket match for the Isolated Children's Parents' Association.
This, fresh from a swashbuckling 65 runs for Inglewood on Saturday.
"Hopefully, I'll be able to move by then, I couldn't walk yesterday,” Mr Littleproud said.
"I try to get a sweat up at least once a week, because there's so much sitting in cars and offices.
"We have organised sport in the early mornings at Parliament House, which I have absolutely loved getting stuck into.”
"They have touch footy, rugby, golf, tennis, basketball and it's all for pollies and staff.
"We start at 7am and go for about 45 minutes, enough to get back in time for a 8pm start.”
Mr Littleproud said he has instigated a 'no lift' policy amongst his staff.
"We only take the stairs, and Parliament House is a huge building so we cover a bit of ground,” he said.
"I average about 10,000 steps a day in that place.”
Mr Littleproud said his first act everyday is to get up at about 5am and read all the papers.
"I need to briefed,” he said.
"In case I run into a journalist, I need to know what is going on and answer questions.
"Canberra can be a bit of a coccoon, that's why I enjoy getting back to Maranoa and connecting with the people.”