MP shot down for using word ‘grubs’

A GOLD COAST MP has been asked to withdraw comments in State Parliament after using the word "grubs" regarding youth crime and quoting a grieving father who said the justice system "sucks".

Bonney MP Sam O'Connor admits he was stunned when Acting Speaker Jess Pugh on two occasions during a speech confronted him about comments on youth crime.

Bonney MP Sam O'Connor at State Parliament.
Bonney MP Sam O'Connor at State Parliament.

"I want to raise the concerns of my community about the level of crime in our suburbs. It has gone unchecked and many people feel unsafe in their own homes and on their streets," Mr O'Connor told Parliament.

"In March, after hearing stories of break-ins, stolen cars and property, and other brazen attacks across Parkwood and Arundel, I ran a community crime forum at the iconic Arundel Tavern.

"We had over 200 locals come along and share their views with senior police officers and our shadow ministers. Much of the night was spent talking about youth crime. There is a clear sentiment that the justice system is not working, particularly when it comes to these repeat young offenders.

"Stories of juveniles getting caught and getting a slap on the wrist means residents feel like there is no point even reporting a crime. It means these kids will often laugh off the possibility of ever being held to account for their actions."

Acting Speaker Jess Pugh. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Acting Speaker Jess Pugh. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

Mr O'Connor told Parliament two of the attendees were Brett and Belinda Beasley, who lost their 17-year-old son, Jack, last December after he was stabbed to death outside the IGA in the middle of Surfers Paradise.

"These Parkwood locals have gone through hell. The immense loss happened just before Christmas and only months before what would have been Jack's 18th birthday. The young men charged with Jacko's murder have been granted bail and that shattered the Beasleys' faith in our justice system. Brett summed it up saying, 'It's a kick in the guts, but that's the system. It absolutely sucks.'"

Gold Coast MP Sam O'Connor talking to residents at the Arundel Tavern. Instagram/Facebook: Sam O'Connor.
Gold Coast MP Sam O'Connor talking to residents at the Arundel Tavern. Instagram/Facebook: Sam O'Connor.

Ms Pugh, the Deputy Speaker, told Mr O'Connor: "Member, that is unparliamentary language and I ask you to withdraw."


Mr O'Connor agreed to withdraw the comment, and then continued to talk about the couple creating the Jack Beasley Foundation to drive change around the issue of youth violence.

"They have set up a foundation to change the culture of knife crime and to reform a system that is putting no fear in these grubs."

Jack Beasley
Jack Beasley

The Deputy Speaker then warned him again. "Member, you have used unparliamentary language again. Even if you are quoting, you cannot use unparliamentary language. I ask you to withdraw."

Mr O'Connor withdrew the remark but he has since sought a clarification, aware the offending words were "grub" and "suck".

Outside the Parliament, when contacted by The Bulletin, he said: "It's the first time it has happened. I was really surprised. I've messaged the (parliament's) Table Office and asked for a list of parliamentary terms," he said.

Originally published as MP shot down for using word 'grubs'