Rockhampton’s 50 Most Influential people: Number 3
Like 'em, love 'em or "never heard of 'em", these are your locals who strive to make Rockhampton a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Some of them were born here and some of them moved here to make the most of the family-friendly facilities, opportunities for employment or to spend more time with their extended families.
Whether they're a community leader or someone working hard behind the scenes, we think you'll be surprised how humble and grateful our Fifty Most Influential are.
Number 3: MATT CANAVAN
Senator Matt Canavan is a history buff who thinks humans haven't changed all that much "since Moses was a boy".
"There are fascinating parallels between the leadership challenges that went on in ancient Rome and that still go on today," he said.
"Lucky for us, they're a little less violent, but there's still that tension between fighting for your convictions and settling for convenience."
But as social commentary moves into the digital era, Mr Canavan won't be reading trolls' comments online.
"I've had the odd person approach me in the street and use some pretty robust language, but that's nothing compared to how people behave online," he said.
"That degree of separation seems to bring out some people's worst instincts.
"Historically, for example, the American founding fathers said the most scandalous things about each other in print, but we found a way to regulate etiquette through defamation laws, so we'll also have to find a mechanism to sift out the worst offenders."
Mr Canavan's not entirely pessimistic about online media - "It's a great way to keep in touch" - but he said he's "incredibly sad" to lose the daily newspaper.
"Print has become influential in creating political debate and social cohesion for such a long time, and I think we're about to realise how much we took it for granted," he said.
Mr Canavan began his political career writing policy documents so he understands the need to get to the point and communicate clearly.
"You can't run campaigns with long, nuanced discussions; you have to be succinct and sharp with your message, otherwise people turn off," he said.
"If you can't seem to get your message across quickly, then you probably don't have the right policy."
He counts getting the Adani mining project secured as one of the highlights of his career.
"We faced a well-funded and organised push from environmental groups, but Rockhampton and Yeppoon locals rose up and said we wanted the jobs," he said.
"They didn't like the hypocrisy of greenies from down south driving their cars up here to tell us what to do.
"It was an amazing, organic action by a community who delivered up real results, seemingly against the world at times."
Mr Canavan said the importance of securing new connections - with India in the case of Adani - was paramount to surviving the fallout from Covid-19 and weakening relations with China.
He said that leadership wasn't necessarily so much a skill one is born with, rather something which gets easier the harder you work at it and practise.
Among his role models he counts John Anderson, the former Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the National Party from 1999 to 2005.
"He had a rich and diverse understanding of political history as well as being a man of extremely high principles," Mr Canavan said.
"I would often go to him for advice, to seek out a sounding board."
Another is Tony Abbott.
"He gets attacked a lot but I know him to be a person who's true to his convictions and he sticks to his guns."
Mr Canavan said that, historically speaking, all institutions decay over time so it remains incumbent on politicians to make sure they uphold a higher standard of behaviour than other people.
"We've seen some high profile scandals threaten to derail our political authority so we've got to be seen to do better," he said.
"Here in Central Queensland, there's so much untapped potential, with Australia's second-largest water catchment and so much mineral wealth," he said.
"If we stay united and communicate with business groups and unions, we can be the centre of future economic growth.
"We're only held back by our desire to push for our region's success."
Number 2 will be revealed at 3pm Saturday 04 July.