Member for Herbert
Cathy O’Toole was elected to the Federal Parliament on the 2nd July, 2016 as the Member for Herbert. Winning the seat of Herbert was an exceptional achievement for Cathy O’Toole as the Labor party hadn’t held this seat in twenty years. Even more remarkable was the fact that Cathy O’Toole was incredibly proud to be the first woman to hold this Federation seat.
Cathy O’Toole was born, raised and educated in Townsville, living with her parents and four siblings in a working class environment. Her parents worked very hard to ensure that their children had access to a good education. Cathy grew up in an environment where the principles of social justice and human rights were clearly evident and practised. These values were instilled in her and Cathy grew up knowing that everyone deserved the right to a quality education, a job and somewhere to call home.
Cathy O’Toole married in Townsville where she and her husband raised and educated their three children. She has lived in Townsville her whole life apart from three and a half years, where she worked and studied overseas. Five generations of Cathy’s family have called Townsville home.
Cathy commenced her working life as an apprentice hairdresser, when at the age of eighteen she became a small business owner in partnership with her mother. Together with her husband, they have since opened, owned and operated a range of small businesses in the retail, hairdressing and vocational education and training industries for many years.
Cathy O’Toole worked in the TAFE sector in teaching, curriculum development and project management roles for some five years. She then worked in the mental health community managed sector as a CEO for thirteen years.
Her passion and commitment to lifelong learning encouraged her to continue studying and she has achieved a range of tertiary education qualifications. Before her election into Parliament, Cathy O’Toole was the CEO of a mental health community managed organisation that operated from Palm Island to Mt Isa, with the head office in Townsville.
Cathy is committed to fighting for the people of Herbert and she will continue to fight for job security, workers’ rights; quality education including early childhood, affordable and accessible health and aged care, a fair deal for defence personnel, veterans, ex-serving personnel and their families, pensioners and small businesses.
Cathy O’Toole will be a strong local voice in Canberra for the people of Herbert.