I am committed to the Sunshine Coast region and my vision is to see it become “the healthiest place on earth”. I care deeply about civil society, and helping individuals and communities realise their potential by taking control of their own future. I believe that the key to the Sunshine Coast’s future is strong and sensible economic growth that protects and leverages the region’s strengths.
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR FAIRFAX Shadow minister for climate change and energy
Nothing is more important to Ted than family. Ted grew up as the youngest of nine children to Tom and Bernice O’Brien; with two big sisters and six big brothers. He is now married to Sophia, who is a university lecturer in law on the Sunshine Coast and father to his and Sophia’s two children, Alexandra (10), Henry (5) and number 3 on the way (due late 2023).
From a young age, he and his siblings were involved in the family business, Defiance Mills. During Ted’s teenage years and young adulthood, Ted worked for Defiance from the shop floor as a trainee baker, and he ultimately progressed through to senior management in Australia and throughout Asia; spending several years in Taiwan as Country Manager, expanding the business.
Ted then worked for Australia’s rice industry, focusing on international negotiations with a particular focus on Japan and market entry work across various Asian markets that were looking to enter the World Trade Organisation, including Greater China.
Ted spent over ten years with global consulting giant, Accenture. He started with the firm’s Strategy Consulting division in Sydney, leading service delivery for clients in the communications and high technology sectors before being promoted to roles managing the firm’s larger and more complex international deals.
His final posting with Accenture was as Director of Growth & Strategy for the Asia Pacific and Emerging Markets – responsible for corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions and mega deals, based out of Beijing.
On returning to Australia, Ted became Managing Director of Australia’s fastest growing government relations firm – Barton Deakin Qld – before being endorsed by the LNP to contest the 2013 Federal election in the seat of Fairfax, where he was narrowly beaten by 53 votes by Clive Palmer, making Fairfax the most marginal seat in Australia’s 44th Parliament.
However, Ted did not give up on politics.
While starting his own advisory practice on the Sunshine Coast delivering over 50% of his services pro-bono (free of charge) to local community groups and charities, he went on to contest and win the seat of Fairfax at the 2016 election.
Beyond Ted’s professional career, he has been active in community roles including Chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, Chairman of the Advisory Board for Ronald McDonald House Charities SEQ, on an advisory board member for Queensland Catholic Education and as Founder and Chairman of local not-for-profit Generation Innovation, which helps young people start their own businesses.
Ted was educated at Nudgee College where he was School Captain and he went on to the University of Queensland where he was College President at St Leo’s College. He studied Economics and Politics at the University of Queensland, earning a Bachelor of Arts before winning the Commonwealth Government’s Asia Pacific Fellowship, allowing him to study Chinese Mandarin at the National Taiwan Normal University. He later attained a Masters of International Business with 1st Class Honours from the University of Melbourne and a Masters of Economics from the London School of Economics.