Mike Ahern and Bill Gunn after the resignation of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen
Tributes are being paid following the passing of former Queensland National Party leader and Premier, Mike Ahern, who’s died at the age of 81.
Mr Ahern was born into a dairying family at Maleny on the Sunshine Coast in 1942.
He entered parliament in 1968 at the age of 25, and sat as the Member for Landsborough until May 1990, when he retired.
He became premier in December 1987 when he ousted Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen in a leadership spill – a time when Queensland was in the middle of the Fitzgerald Inquiry into political and police corruption.
Mr Ahern promised to implement the Fitzgerald Inquiry’s findings “lock, stock, and barrel” but less than two years into the job he was successfully challenged for the leadership and three months later the Coalition lost government.
Mr Ahern retired from politics in May, 1990, and went into small business.
He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2007 for “service to the Queensland Parliament, to economic and trade development through fostering primary production and international relationships, and to the community through technological, medical research, educational and charitable organisations.”
In 2010, he was presented with a Queensland Greats Award.
Federal Nationals’ Leader David Littleproud said The Nationals’ family has lost one of its greatest.
“Mike Ahern and my father are two of the greatest influences on me and my pursuit of politics,” Mr Littleproud said.
“I still wear to this day, with pride, a tie and cufflinks he gave me as a young boy when he was our Premier.”
Mr Littleproud said it is difficult to describe all that Mr Ahern achieved and stood for, but integrity is what Mike Ahern embodied in all that he did during his time in public office.
“We are a better state and country for having Mike Ahern and our National Party family’s thoughts are with Andrea and the family during this sad time,” Mr Littleproud said.