Australian politics is poorer with the passing overnight of one of The Nationals’ finest, Paul Neville.

The former long-serving Member for Hinkler in Queensland was ill for several months and passed away earlier today, aged 78.

Paul is survived by wife Margaret and their five children, Gavin and Gaye (twins), Sally, Peter and Paul (twins). He and wife Margaret celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in October 2018.

The Nationals’ Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said even though Paul Neville had been ill for some time, his character and personality never changed and remained strong and spirited, to the end.

“I had the enormous privilege of sitting beside Paul in my first term of Parliament and he taught me a great deal – I could not have wished for a better mentor,” Mr McCormack said.

Paul retired as the Member for Hinkler at the 2013 election, having served in the role in the Queensland seat for 20 years.

His ability to win tight elections in his seat was legendary – winning in 1993, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

“Local people relied on Paul and trusted him and he repaid their faith by delivering for them year after year,” Mr McCormack said.

“He was everything an outstanding Local Member should be – he always put people first.

“Paul Neville was a good listener, a fighter and someone who understood the importance to the nation of having strong, vibrant regions.

“He served on a number of Parliamentary committees and earned respect across the Chamber.

“I know members on both sides will be deeply saddened by his loss.

“His work ensuring regions people received the best deal possible under sweeping media reforms were significant.

“A real raconteur, Paul will be fondly remembered for his story-telling, good-natured jokes and light-hearted songs.”

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said this is a great loss for the Neville family, the community and politics in general.

“Paul was a true gentleman and was known widely as a local champion, which is something those of us in politics should all aspire to be,” Mr Pitt said.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Margaret and family, his many friends and colleagues throughout Australia.”

Long-time friend and colleague Senator for Queensland Barry O’Sullivan said after decades of working with Paul Neville, this is an incredible loss.

“Having worked with Paul in many different forms over a very long period of time, I was proud to call him a friend and I will miss him terribly,” Senator O’Sullivan said.

“Paul’s service to Queensland and the nation should be celebrated, his work for the regions will never be forgotten.”

Federal President of The Nationals, the Hon Larry Anthony, said Paul Neville had been a much loved champion of the Party, regional Australia and for the people of Hinkler.

“Paul was a larger than life character in The Nationals Party Room who was much loved and respected - he will be sadly missed and mourned by our Party.

“He was a fierce champion for maintaining media diversity in regional Australia and successfully protected rural newsrooms in communities across our nation.

“We will remember with great fondness Paul’s humour, wise counsel and dedicated commitment to the people he represented and served with.”

Acting President of the Queensland LNP Mr David Hutchinson said all LNP member’s thoughts are with the Neville family at this time.

“Paul remained heavily involved in the LNP following his significant Parliamentary career and our party is all the stronger for his contribution – he will be greatly missed,” Mr Hutchinson said.

More information on Mr Neville’s Parliamentary career can be found here.

Hannah Maguire