Get to Know Your Councillor: Q&A with Division 9 Cr Scott Bannan

Tell us about life growing up.

I was born and bred in Jimboomba. I’ve been here 45 years. When I was a kid, you’d tell your mates that you live in Jimboomba and they would go, “Where?” They didn’t know where Jimboomba was. It was the end of the Earth.

I had a good childhood. I had a real good crew of friends. All country boys. We were riding dirt bikes or riding horses or playing. The funny part I find is I was always jealous of my dad’s childhood. You know, the 50’s. I thought that would’ve been cool. And now my kids are jealous of my childhood. So you know, you could do whatever you want. I lived on a pushbike, so I’m good with the roads. I’ve ridden a pushie on every road in Jimboomba. Not 15 gears, just the old BMX. But I just wonder will my kid’s kids be jealous of this time.

What schools did you go to?

Jimmie. I went to Beaudesert pre-school back in the day because there wasn’t one at Jimboomba. On the second day I ‘legged it’. I’d had enough and wasn’t for me. I started walking home and the police found me on the highway. I got in trouble for that one.

I settled in at Jimboomba State School. I’m still good mates with the teachers. I still call them Mr Begley, Mr Ball. I still can’t call them by their first name.

School was a lot different back then too. Later on when I started my fighting career, Mr Begley used to come down and watch my fight. That was cool. I’m still good friends with both of them. They’re just good blokes. Back then you looked up to your teacher. I really respected those two men. Still do.

I went to Browns Plains for one year in high school. I did all right there but I wanted to go to Beauy. Obviously there was no high school in Jimboomba then. There’s still no state high school in Jimboomba. I went to Beaudesert until grade 10. I was playing football pretty heavily and then I got contracted to Burleigh. So I left school at the end of grade 10 and started working while playing footy.

What was your first job out of school?

I was a Painter for my dad’s painting business. My first job was the Harrison’s house. It’s an iconic house in the area. It’s in Cedar Grove. Lenny Harrison was the original owner of all the lands in Cedar Vale/Cedar Grove. He was a cattle farmer and had a big Queenslander. The little broomsticks that go around the veranda. I had to paint them three times. Took me three weeks. I remember sitting there going, what am I doing? I should’ve just stayed in school.

How long did you do painting?

I did  that for two and a half years and played football for a while on the Gold Coast. Then I got signed for Logan Brothers. Kenny Cole saw me and I came back to Logan. During that time, I switched my trade and decided to do concreting. All my mates were concreters. So I did that and built a business out of that.

So the footy career, was that full time?

No, not full time. Back then I was only starting off. I was playing first grade when I was about 17 or 18. I can’t remember, but you weren’t getting paid enough to live on. I actually went to Logan when Tom Raudonikis coached. So that was a sweetener. Sam Backo lived down the road from us and Kenny Coles got me there with Tommy but it’s funny, I wanted to get super fit to impress Tommy, so I started I started fighting to get fit for footy. I only played a couple games for Logan. I guess I really liked the club at Burleigh. When I was in Burleigh, I loved it. They were good boys and when I went to Logan, didn’t know anyone that well. There was probably a bit more pressure with Tommy being there and I’d already started fighting and I just said, you know what, I like fighting, so I quit footy. I never touched the football again till my young blokes got me back into it. My two boys. I didn’t even watch it. That was when Super League was happening. I don’t know. I just got turned right off the game. But now I love it again.

So your fighting career, how long was that?

Probably about 20 years I’d say. I took out twelve titles. I got the Queensland, Australian, South Pacific, Commonwealth, Intercontinental titles. Three world titles. And I did it across three divisions - Junior Middle weights, Middle weights and Super Middle weights. I didn’t know it was gonna happen. I started competing and I had a couple of fights and on my third fight, they threw me in for a Queensland title. My opponent had had like twenty-something fights. I thought I was gonna get pumped. But I won. I don’t know how. Then I told my mates I wanted to win world champ. They’d stick it to me. They never thought I’d do it. I loved it, I loved the challenge - not knowing if you were going to win. The challenge was really cool. I liked that.

You talked about your dad a fair bit on the campaign trail. Tell us about your family.

My parents broke up when I was about eighteen I think. Mum’s up in Tin Can Bay, she’s happy. It’s funny, some people will relate to this. When they broke up, I was filthy on it. Dad’s always been real quiet, an old school sort of fella. But when they broke up, he opened up a lot more. My dad was known as the grumpy dad. Like my mates would ring up and he wouldn’t even speak. They’d go, “Mr Bannan?” He’d say, “What do you want?” They all hated ringing. But now you can’t shut him up. He’s only cuddled me once that I know of, and that’s when I won the world title. But once they broke up, they were happy people. I just didn’t understand that. Even though I was a bit older I still didn’t understand that. Looking back, as sad as that probably is to say, I kind of wish they broke up when I was younger because I never got to see the true side of my dad when I was young. He was always there but he didn’t say much. He drove me to footy every day. Every fight I had, locally, he’d come to every fight. He was in my corner. He used to box, he used to spar with Johnny Famechon down in Melbourne. I’m pretty tight with my dad.

How many kids have you got?

Three. My daughter Kirra, she’s 18. Keanu’s 16 and Levi is 12.

Who are the people that have made an impact on your life?

My primary school teachers. Gary Begley when I was young. I always looked up to him cause he was a powerful figure. Like he was just a dominant male. Mr Begley lived behind me, still does. When I was training - he has a lot of land and turf farms and that - I used to run, I think it was about 10 or 12k’s. I’d run around the river, train at the dredger and run back. He was a positive influence on me. It was different in those days. If you got tuned up by the teacher and ran home and whinged to mum about it, my dad would laugh and maybe went harder on me than the teacher did. It seems these days that the teachers are always getting the blame.

All the trainers I’ve had through my fighting career have shaped me, particularly Ian Jacobs.  When you’re young you talk too much smack and you talk a bit too much gossip. I did that as a 19 year old, cause you’re somebody in the middle all the time and he was always shaking his head. Ian Jacobs was like the big brother I never really had. So he pulled me up a lot. I try learn off everyone. Good and bad. I just get a little bit off each person.

What are some of the experiences that have shaped in your life?

From the good things, being the World Champ was pretty cool. Getting in the Hall of Fame was epic. That was really good. Especially the Hall of Fame because it’s hard to retire from any sport I believe, because you’re ‘the man’ for a while. You’re walking in to packed venues. Everyone wants your autograph and I should’ve retired earlier. Probably the last 6 fights I had were pretty sub-par, I didn’t train hard enough. Jacobs would be ringing me and I’d try to dodge him cause I’d have to run up hill and get chased by cars. It’s hard when you’re not ‘the man’ anymore.

On the tough side of experiences, going through my wife’s battle with cancer. You never think that’s going to happen. When we went through that, that really rocked me. I found the lump and then it took me three or four months to get her to go get it checked. She just wouldn’t go. Even when she got the call to come in for the results, she said, “It won’t be anything, what are you worried about?” When they tell you it’s cancer. That rocked my world, and you gotta keep a staunch face. I’m kind of old-school myself so I try to keep that brave front for the kids. When I shaved my wife’s head and she was crying. That was hard. She’s already come back and she’s beaten it now. She was always an awesome girl, but she’s come back even better. I guess you go through it and realize how unimportant the little things are that annoyed you before. That’s changed our whole family.

When I did the Pink Stumps Day with Jimboomba Cricket Club, with Rodney Teese and the boys there, I kind of felt real guilty. I think I’m a good promoter. But when we did that fundraiser, we raised more money than any cricket club in the country. We only had a month to do it. I’ve done stuff before you know, like Relay For Life, and I think now that I should’ve focused harder and got more awareness before. But till it hits you, you don’t realise. And now we’ll do that every year, but I kind of felt bad that I didn’t push any harder. But since then, I probably get three or four messages a week that people have gone to get a checkup. So to me, that was more important than money. My wife’s breast cancer was the hardest thing ever to go through. You feel for people. Imagine the people going through it with their kids. It’s a horrible thing. You wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy you know?

What did you enjoy most about the campaign?

Meeting new people is cool. I didn’t get much grief I suppose. Well, not to my face anyway. The positivity was sensational, ‘cause you’re never sure how it’s going to go. But it made me realise I made the right decision. I think if I’d just scraped in and had a lot of negative feedback, I’d probably come with a little angst. But because I’ve come in with so much support and positivity, it’s made me want to go even harder. I want to show people they backed the right horse, and if they didn’t vote for me, I want to show them that they should have.

The more people I can meet the better. I’m a people-person. I’ll door-knock even more now that I’m an actual councillor. Like. “Hey, I’m your councillor what do you want me to do?” As much as the new protocols of council, which I don’t think people are aware of it - Everything’s so documented now because of what did or didn’t happen last time. So everything has to go through email and has to be recorded. I’ll do all that. But I’m a people-person. That’s why I like doing my job. I’d rather ring you. Turn up at your house. That’s why I’m doing it. And every time I do that they spin out that you’re ringing them  like, “Oh you rang me”. I just want to be approachable.

What are you most excited about the coming 12 months? What are your first goals?

First goal is Edelsten Road. I’m all for roads being redone but I’ve never agreed with the order in which they do the roads. I’ll look into that process, which is why I went deputy chair for city infrastructure. Teresa Lane is chair. She’s sensational. I don’t want to be chair anyway, cause you got to be pretty neutral as chair. I don’t want to be. If something’s right I’ll agree with it for the betterment of the city. But if the people that live on the road don’t want that type of road, and they’re paying for it, well you’ve got to listen to that. They’ve lived on it for 30 years. I really want to support the people in that and I’m going to push hard on that.

Community groups and sport. I’ve got criticised about that in the campaign. They just said, “You’re too sport focused. You’re too sport orientated. You need to be doing… You’re not just as sport guy.” And I get that. I do the Super-cross. I probably do come across as sport-guy. But that’s where families are. If you want to hear something, go to the footy club, or cricket club or the equestrian centre. That’s when they start to talk. And I believe if you get everyone into sport and families, it’s a good step.

Skate parks are a good little thing, but the thing with skate parks is that it’s a hang around type of thing and there’s no leadership there. There’s no coach or manager to steer people in the right direction. That’s why the more sporting clubs we keep successful from equestrian to golf, to tennis, to cricket to AFL and so on, the better. I really want to support those guys as hard as I can.

And roads… public transport is obviously at State level and we’re helping that, but probably one of the main reasons I went for this was because when I did run for State against Linus, I kind of felt like the dude yelling at the coach from the sideline telling Linus to do his job better. The more I looked into it though, the more I realised, hang on, he’s doing a good job. Plus a lot of the stuff I had problems with wasn’t even a State issue. So I’d like to help people understand the differences between local, state and federal issues. But there’s nothing worse than someone saying, “That’s a state problem, I can’t help you.” Which isn’t true. I can tell you, we had an issue in Munruben and I wasn’t even councillor yet. And I picked up the phone and phoned Linus. He was there 20 minute later. And we sorted it out that day.

So yeah, roads and sports. And I want people to know that they can come to me and I will fight for them. I’m not a yes-man. And I’ll upset the people in here all day if I have to, to look after the people of Division 9. If I get to have a career as a local councillor, I want it to be built on relationships with residents.

And I want a state high school in Jimboomba. I’m already onto Linus about that. Linus wants it. The State election is coming in October. This is the time to hit the state candidates, which ever party they’re running for. I want to pressure whoever’s running for that state seat to give me a start date for the Jimboomba State High School. If it’s just 2 or 3 years time give me some date to start. We’ve waited 20 years already. Linus is for that, he wants it. The more support we can give the State for roads and high schools, the better off we’ll be.

Now, I’m against high density housing out here. And I know for a fact from being in the building game that these little 300 square blocks aren’t selling. So if people want the res-rural living, let’s give it to them. And that’s an argument I’ve got to have with State. Well discussion is probably a better word. To be honest with you, Linus has been really easy to deal with. When you go against someone it’s kind of like having a fight with someone. If you have a big battle with someone in the ring. You always have that respect cause you’ve gone to war together. Obviously I didn’t punch-on with Linus, but going through the campaign, we ended up being good mates. And Gloria Vicario, she’s a champion. I’d rather learn off him them and be friends with them, than mortal enemies. I have a lot more respect for Linus since I ran against him. I can tell you for a fact. When I call him for a problem, he is on it. Jon Krause is the same in Scenic Rim. If I call Jon up he calls me right back.

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