Charles Rappolt

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Charles Rappolt
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Mulgrave
In office
13 June 1998 – 4 November 1998
Preceded by Naomi Wilson
Succeeded by Warren Pitt
Personal details
Born Charles Robert Rappolt
(1939-08-23)23 August 1939
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Died 2 August 1999(1999-08-02) (aged 59)
Devonport, Auckland,
New Zealand
Political party Pauline Hanson's One Nation
Spouse(s) Sandra Higgins
Children 3
Occupation Mine company manager
(Cairns Mining Australia Ltd)
Mining stockbroker
(Self-employed)
Profession Financier
Politician
Military service
Allegiance Commonwealth of Australia
Service/branch Australian Army Reserve
Years of service 1957–1961
Rank Australian Army OF-1a.svgSecond Lieutenant
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Charles Robert "Charlie" Rappolt (23 August 1939 – 2 August 1999) was an Australian politician. A member of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party, Rappolt spent five turbulent months in the Parliament of Queensland in 1998.[1]

A native of Cairns, Rappolt held a variety of jobs before he entered politics. He served in the Citizens' Military Force from 1957 until 1961. In 1961 he began working as an agent for his brother, described by One Nation leader Bill Feldman as a musician "of some renown". From 1974 to 1978 he ran his own building company, and was a licensed environmental auditor in Queensland and Victoria. During his time as an environmental auditor, Rappolt became interested in mining, and he soon became a mine manager, prospector and financier. He was also a commercial pilot, flying aeroplanes and helicopters for a time. Another interest of Rappolt's was soccer, and he volunteered as a coach and referee at junior level.

On 13 June 1998, Rappolt was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, running on the One Nation ticket for the Cairns-area seat of Mulgrave. His parliamentary career lasted a little over four months, and he suffered constant media attacks after the revelation that his partner, Sandra Higgins, had taken out a domestic violence order against him. On 4 November, Rappolt resigned, citing the combined pressures of political life, ill health, and the Queensland press. The resulting by-election was won by Labor candidate Warren Pitt, who had earlier held the then-marginal seat from 1989 until 1995. Pitt's victory gave Labor a majority in its own right; indeed, Mulgrave was one of seven seats that would have gone to Labor in the 1998 election if not for leakage of Coalition preferences.

Less than a week after his resignation, Rappolt attempted suicide and was hospitalised with severe depression. After his recovery he sought A$295 000 in damages from the Queensland government, arguing that his stint in Parliament had left him a psychotic manic depressive. He moved to New Zealand in 1999, in an attempt to flee the pressure of public life in Queensland. He was found dead in his home in Auckland, on 2 August 1999, apparently after having hanged himself. At a condolence motion in the Queensland Assembly, One Nation leader Bill Feldman launched a blistering attack on the Courier Mail, claiming that the newspaper was responsible for Rappolt's suicide attempts.

Rappolt was survived by his partner Sandra Higgins, and three children.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Former Members". Parliament of Queensland. 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  • Queensland Legislative Assembly HANSARD, 17 August 1999, "Deaths of Mr C. R. Rappolt and Mr R. B. J. Pilbeam" (available online (PDF)[permanent dead link])
  • Mulgrave, North Queensland, ABC 2004 election coverage. Accessed 2006-01-24.
  • Newspapers:
    • "Depression drives former One Nation MP to suicide", Kevin Meade Christopher Dore and Stefanie Balogh, The Australian, 1999-08-05.
    • "The man killed by politics - Suicide of former One Nation MP", The Daily Telegraph, 1999-08-05.
    • "Problems Preceded Death Of An Ex-MP", Greg Roberts, Sydney Morning Herald, 1999-08-05.
    • "Pollies face untold pressures says long serving member", Australian Associated Press, 1999-08-05.
    • "Rappolt not prepared for politics - Beattie", Selina Day, Australian Associated Press, 1999-08-17.
    • "One Nation leader hits out at paper over reports", Martin Thomas, Courier Mail 1999-08-18.
    • "Voters failed by rebel politicians", Courier Mail, 1999-12-27.
    • "Gloves firmly on for tough fight in north", Robert Reid, Courier Mail, 2001-02-13.
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Naomi Wilson
Member for Mulgrave
1998
Succeeded by
Warren Pitt