10 June, 2021
James Lister Returns to Work
The Member for Southern Downs, James Lister, has recently returned to work full-time after taking leave for mental health treatment. Mr Lister told the Allora Advertiser that he had not been sleeping for months and that he had to do something about it.
“I came back to part time work a month ago and my medical treatment has been very effective. It’s great to be feeling good, sleeping again, and to now be back full-time and busy.” said Mr Lister.
Mr Lister, a military veteran, said that he was grateful for the help that he has received. “I have to say that the system has looked after me both during my 17 years in the Air Force, and since. I’m grateful for that.” He said. “My challenges do stem from my period in uniform, but I don’t hold a grudge against the RAAF at all.”
The stigma of mental health challenges made Lister think twice about going public about his condition. “I thought long and hard about what to do but in the end I decided that I had to be open about my situation and show some leadership to encourage other blokes to seek and accept help.” He said.
“Getting help has made me a better dad and husband, and it has certainly made me a better local MP because my judgement and attitude was slipping from lack of sleep”. “I didn’t go mad or anything thing like that, but I was suffering.”
Mr Lister says that he’s got plenty on his plate, and with his large electorate stretching from Cunningam’s Gap to Mungundi, and from Wallangarra to Cecil Plains. “I have a full schedule of meetings with constituents both in my ofﬁ ces in Warwick and Stanthorpe, and in halls, council chambers and libraries throughout our electorate” He said.
Asked about his priorities, Lister said that dealing with individual constituent matters was his “bread and butter”, but that there were plenty of issues to keep him busy such as road upgrades, law strengthening to discourage repeat offenders, and campaigning for our schools, hospitals and water security.
“We’ve got 40 schools in Southern Downs, many small hospitals, and three local councils, and visiting them is a good way to understand the issues they face, and my ofﬁ ce plans meetings for me with mayors and departmental ofﬁ cers in Education, Police, Health and others year round.
“Parliament takes up about one to two weeks per month and I make sure that I speak as often as I can in the chamber about our communities’ needs. Next week It’s budget week and I am Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Education, Employment and Small Business Committee, so I will be busy with budget estimates and hearings over the coming two months.
“And I’m patron of seven local community organisations throughout Southern Downs and a member of many more - from mens’ sheds to bands and show societies and from arts groups to pistol clubs, there are many community groups in our electorate to which I am committed.
“I’ll continue to give this job 100%” Said Mr Lister. “I am buoyant and positive about the tasks ahead of me and I can assure everyone that I am back, and better than ever.”