Chloe of Noosa – part of the naked truth of Noosa's colourful political history.
Chloe of Noosa – part of the naked truth of Noosa's colourful political history.

FLASHBACK: Noosa’s history of ‘colourful’ MPs

Noosa has a habit of attracting some pretty colourful state representatives and its share of political mavericks.

Exotic African animals wandering about our vast Aussie plains in captivity at refuges like Australia Zoo may no longer be considered strange.

But back in 1997 the Liberal Member for Noosa, Bruce "Davo" Davidson, created headlines with a rhino wildlife park proposal.

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Not everyone shared the larrikin MP's vision for the rescue of up to 50 endangered black and white rhinos that resulted in Davo heading to South Africa on an information gathering tour.

The Queensland Estimates Committee of the day voiced concerns about "the possible importation of exotic or tropical diseases and the threat this poses to Queensland's native plants and wildlife and primary industries".

A white rhino once on the wish list of former local pollie Bruce 'Davo' Davison.
A white rhino once on the wish list of former local pollie Bruce 'Davo' Davison.

The media reported Mr Davidson claimed the sanctuary could attract up to 500,000 visitors a year.

Mr Davidson then produced a letter from the Natal Parks Board saying that the project was "attractive in concept" and that the board would like to be involved in the conceptual planning stages.

Davo's time as a minister ended when Labor's political big game hunter Peter Beattie brought down the Borbidge Government in 1998.

It proved only a political flesh wound though for Mr Davidson, who was voted in a for a third term.

Respected ABC political commentator Antony Green remembers the time well.

"His vision of rhinoceros hooves thundering across the north Queensland veldt was never achieved, but Davidson was re-elected at the 1998 election, helped by One Nation disendorsing its candidate late in the campaign," he said.

Political maverick and former Noosa MOP Cate Molloy.
Political maverick and former Noosa MOP Cate Molloy.

In 2001 Mr Davidson was defeated by Labor's ALP MP, Cate Molloy, a vocal nude sunbathing advocate and local lifesaving Labor member who would go on to anger her party for giving a damn about her own party's plan to dam the Mary Valley.

Ms Molloy was quoted at the time: "I oppose this dam so much that I'm prepared to cross the floor and if that means expulsion from the Labor Party, then I'll accept that and sit out as an independent".

The Sunshine Coast Daily reported back in 2006: "Ms Molloy was disendorsed just two hours after Premier Peter Beattie issued an ultimatum to her to support Labor's water initiatives or leave the party.

"The ultimatum came after the rebel MP and her husband, Ivan, stormed out of the Labor Party conference in Brisbane during the premier's keynote address.

"Ms Molloy, who remains a member of the Labor Party, said last night that she was saddened by yesterday's events but was relieved she could now properly represent her community."

The serving MP also made the local news for being suspended as a member of Sunshine Beach Surf Life Saving Club alongside her even more colourful husband, an academic and aspiring politician.

The Daily in 2006 reported the suspensions were related to moves to arrange a meeting of members to discuss a range of perceived grievances, including the "removal of controversial nude painting Chloe of Noosa from the club's foyer late last year".

Mr Green noted Ms Molloy's political end at the hands of former local radio executive Glen Elmes.

"Molloy eventually resigned from the Labor Party and contested the 2006 election as an

independent," Mr Green said.

"She pulled ahead of the Labor Party on preferences but could not withstand the surge in Liberal support that occurred across the Sunshine Coast in 2006."

Mr Elmes would eventually be appointed Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier in the Campbell Newman Government elected in a landslide in 2012.

Not all his LNP colleagues shared his passion for seeing Noosa de-amalgamate from the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, but the MP stood his ground.

Mr Elmes was eventually defeated at the 2017 state election by former Noosa councillor and independent candidate Sandy Bolton.

And just to prove there is always plenty more fish in the political sea, the ever durable Davo, who decades before drove a strong community campaign for a Noosa River Plan, helped engineer a nailbiting victory for Clare Stewart over incumbent Tony Wellington in this year's local government race for mayor.


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