Ian Blayney: Life after 12 years as member for Geraldton

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Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
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Ian Blayney donating plasma in early June.
Camera IconIan Blayney donating plasma in early June. Credit: Ian Blayney/Facebook

Where the bloody hell is Blayney?

That’s what some people in Geraldton could be forgiven for thinking since former MP Ian Blayney lost office to Labor’s Lara Dalton in March.

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He hasn’t been seen around town, and that’s because for the past few months, he’s been living a different life far removed from the hustle and bustle of State politics.

You could call it a farm change.

Ian Blayney on his in-laws’ sheep farm in Kojonup.
Camera IconIan Blayney on his in-laws’ sheep farm in Kojonup. Credit: Ian Blayney/Facebook

Mr Blayney has taken a break from the regional city after serving as its member for 121/2 years, but he plans to return later this year.

He and wife Barbara have been living in a caravan on her brother and sister-in-law’s sheep farm in Kojonup in the Great Southern, where Mr Blayney described the work as “Deliveroo for sheep”, delivering feed to “thousands of happy customers” every day.

Mr Blayney, who will turn 60 next year, told the Geraldton Guardian he had enjoyed returning to farming and “working hard” outdoors.

“I’m enjoying life,” he said.

“(I’ve) gone back to simple farm days, long hours of some pretty hard physical work which, believe it or not, I always missed.

“(I) still seem to be able to handle it, thanks to keeping up exercise and back exercises every morning for those 121/2 years in politics.

Ian Blayney on the farm.
Camera IconIan Blayney on the farm. Credit: Ian Blayney/Facebook

“Not a lot in farming has changed, but as everywhere, electronics is appearing all over the place. I still reckon nothing is as hard as Facebook to operate.”

Mr Blayney admitted he had a bit of “cabin fever” and wasn’t enjoying the cold, while his wife had wanted a caravan for years and was loving the experience.

His time feeding the sheep has come to an end, with winter rains providing enough fodder in the fields for grazing.

Mr Blayney, who achieved an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture before entering politics, will turn his focus to corporate affairs in August, when he will take a course with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

I always have been interested in the business world...I hope to serve on a few boards if given the opportunity.

“(I) always have been interested in the business world — that’s where most jobs are, and are created,” he said.

“I hope to serve on a few boards if given the opportunity.”

Ian Blayney with Nationals party members.
Camera IconIan Blayney with Nationals party members. Credit: Ian Blayney/Facebook

Born in Geraldton and after farming sheep and grain at Eradu for most of his life, Mr Blayney had a go at running for State politics in 2008 and was successful, elected to the 38th Parliament as member for his home town under the Liberal party in 2008, succeeding Labor member Shane Hill.

He was re-elected in 2013 and 2017, narrowly beating current member for Geraldton Lara Dalton when WA Labor took over government.

He defected to the Nationals in 2019 after he lost his post as shadow agriculture minister in a reshuffle, but at the time claimed it had “not greatly” affected his move and then lost his seat to Ms Dalton at the 2021 election earlier this year.

During his political career he had stints as Acting Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, a Shadow Minister and sat on standing and seasonal committees.

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