|Full name||Paul Osborne|
|As of 15 April 2010
Source: Rugby League Project
|Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly|
18 February 1995 – 20 October 2001
30 September 1966 |
Hurlstone Park, New South Wales
|Children||Sabella, Jacob, Joshua, George, Thomas, Noah, Ezra, Daisy, Moses|
Paul Anthony Osborne (born 30 September 1966) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer, administrator and politician. He played first-grade rugby league for the St George Dragons and Canberra Raiders before serving as a member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly from 1995 until 2001. He was the chief executive officer of the Parramatta Eels in the National Rugby League from 2009 to 2011.
Rugby league football career
He was a member of the St George rugby league team between 1986–1991 and the Canberra Raiders rugby league team between 1992–94. His form for St.George Dragons between 1986–91 was inconsistent as he was sometimes considered a future star for the club and a captaincy candidate and at other times was considered a liability, although, he starred in the victorious St George Dragons team that won the 1988 Panasonic Cup. He left the Club at the end of Brian Smith's first year of Coaching in 1991 to join the weakened Canberra club who had lost so many forwards after the 1991 salary cap investigation.
Osborne was unlucky in that Canberra made the Grand final in his last three years at St George and then St George made the grand final in the following 2 seasons. Although he was a regular first grader in his first two seasons with the Raiders, in his 1994, he injured his foot earlier in the season and didn't play much first grade. He had been organised a release from finals bound Canberra, and had been ready to fly to England to finish his career there.
In the 1994 Preliminary Final victory over North Sydney, John Lomax was sent off, and subsequently suspended. Tim Sheens (Canberra's Coach) felt that the reserve forwards he had been using in the finals (Brett Hetherington and David Westley) would lose their impact if they started, so he literally called Osborne back from the airport for the opportunity to play one last game – in the Grand Final. Osborne laid on two offloads which led directly to tries in the earlier stages of the match, playing an important role as Canberra won, claiming the 1994 Winfield Cup, and giving him a dream ending to his career.
Missing the flight to England terminated his agreements, so left without a club, Osborne joined the local Canberra competition, and got involved in local politics.
Osborne was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly as an independent representative for the electorate of Brindabella in 1995 on a socially conservative platform. Prior to the 1998 general election, Osborne formed a group called the Osborne Independents Group and ran two candidates in each of the three seats. Osborne was re-elected and Dave Rugendyke, a former police officer, was a seat in the Assembly, representing Ginninderra. The Osborne Independent Group ran on a strong pro-life ticket with stated objectives of blocking both euthanasia legislation and legislation to decriminalise abortion. However, on taking up his seat in the Assembly, Rugendyke chose not to sit with Osborne, but sat as an independent in the Assembly. Less than a year later, at the request of the party, the ACT Electoral Commission deregistered the Osborne Independent Group on 15 February 1999. Osborne and Rugendyke sat in the Assembly as independents from that date.
In 1995, with the support of Osborne and Michael Moore, another independent, Liberal leader, Kate Carnell, formed a minority government. Moore later went on to serve as an independent Minister for Health in the Carnell-led government. In 1998, with support of Rugendyke, Osborne introduced an anti-abortion bill, requiring that more information be provided to women considering the procedure and that there be a 72-hour cooling-off period. His move was vehmently but unsuccessfully opposed by the Health Minister, Moore. The Bill, while consistent with Osborne's Catholic beliefs, damaged his popularity among the suburban voters who had been his chief supporters. (Abortion was decriminalised and the legislation repealed in 2002).
Osborne voted against the 2000 budget in a successful attempt to stop the opening of a supervised injecting room. Although the injecting room had the support of a majority of the Assembly members, Osborne's support was needed to approve the funding in the budget. A new budget without funding for the injecting room was presented to the Assembly soon after and it passed with Osborne's support.
In late 2000, Labor gave notice of an intention to move a no confidence vote against Carnell over the Bruce Stadium affair. The Assembly adjourned for seven days and, despite her attempts to secure support from Osborne, Carnell was forced to resign as Chief Minister before the vote was put to the Assembly. She was replaced by Gary Humphries. Osborne had a crucial role in determining Carnell's future, initially proposing an early election (which was outside the provisions of the ACT Constitution) to resolve the lack of confidence in Carnell.
In July 2004 the Canberra Times claimed that he was considering running for that year's ACT election with the Liberal Party, but it did not run. He worked as community-relations officer for the Raiders for a time after leaving politics.
Life after politics
In October 2008 he took 6 NRL Players, Nathan Hindmarsh, Justin Poore, Todd Payten, Jared Hickey, Jared Warea-Hargreaves and Todd Carney to Rwanda to work in the Village of Hope for Hope Rwanda. They worked in the village building houses for widows and orphans. They visited the famed Mountain Gorillas and News Limited and Fox Sports had extended coverage of the trip. All the players reported how much the trip had affected them and how far the country had come since the 1994 Genocide. He returned in 2009 with 6 Parramatta Eels Players, Justin Poore, Joel Reddy, Matthew Keating, Joe Galavou, Tim Mannah and Joe Paulo. They worked in the same village and also made the trip to the border of Rwanda and the Congo at the Volcanoes National Park to visit the Mountain Gorillas.
Midway through the 2009 NRL season, Parramatta Eels Chief Executive Denis Fitzgerald was replaced by Osborne. He then oversaw the troubled club's rise to the grand final winning 7 regular season matches in a row on the way. The Eels under Osborne broke the record for the biggest crowd at a match outside of the Grand Final when 75,000 people attended the Preliminary Final. The Eels defeated the Bulldogs in that match. His friendship with Rugby convert Timana Tahu was pivotal in him returning to the Eels from Rugby for the 2010 Season.
On 15 November 2011 Paul Osborne announced that he would no longer be Chief Executive of the Parramatta Eels after Christmas due to "A working relationship between Paul Osborne and the club's major naming rights sponsor Pirtek is no longer tenable"
- Govorcin, Damir (3 August 2003). "Conversation: Paul Osborne, ex-NRL star, ex-cop, ex-MP – People will always try 'to knock you down'". Catholic Weekly. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
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- "Election Campaign Success". Newsletter – Autumn 1998. ACT Right to Life Association. 22 June 1998. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "List of elected candidates – 1998 Election". 1998 Election. ACT Electoral Commission. 1999. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Assembly Debate – 7/12/2000" (PDF). ACT Hansard. ACT Legislative Assembly. 7 December 2000. p. 3935. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Bill 1998" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Australian Capital Territory: Legislative Assembly. 25 November 1998.
- Hunt, Josephine (28 August 2002). "Abortion legalised in the ACT". Green Left Weekly. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- "Law and Order". Abortion help. Marie Stopes International Australia. 10 November 2006. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- McLennan, David (21 August 2002). "ACT legalises abortion in close vote". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Assembly Debate – 10/10/2000" (PDF). ACT Hansard. ACT Legislative Assembly. 10 October 2000. p. 3141. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- "Summary of seats won – 2001 Election". 2001 Election. ACT Electoral Commission. 2001. Retrieved 2 September 2010.