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Australia MP hails boyhood in rural Scotland

A SCOTTISH builder's son has been become one of Australia's youngest MPs, 11 years after his family quit Scotland for a new life Down Under.

BRIGHT FUTURE: David Speirs, left, who grew up in Wigtownshire is one of Australia's youngest MPs.
BRIGHT FUTURE: David Speirs, left, who grew up in Wigtownshire is one of Australia's youngest MPs.

David Speirs was just 17 when he moved from Wigtownshire to the south coast of Australia with his parents and two brothers.

But last month the 29-year-old was elected to represent his adopted home city of Adelaide in the Southern Australian Parliament.

The former Stranraer Academy pupil believes his childhood in the countryside and the teachers at his primary school inspired him to work in politics.

He said: "I was born in Scotland and grew up in a small farming community, spending most of my childhood hanging out on my grandparents' dairy and deer farm.

"I attended Kirkcolm Primary School, there were 40 kids there, and was taught by three amazing teachers: Mrs McNeil, Mr Richards and Mr McCracken."

Mr Spiers said it was a "shock to the system" to move half way across the globe after finishing his Highers.

"I went from being part of a rural community to living in Adelaide's suburbs. Although some people reck-on Adelaide's a small city, for someone who had never driven through a traffic-light controlled intersection before, it is a metropolis.

"Moving to Australia was the biggest challenge I've faced, but early in my life here I decided that I had to make a go of it, it was either that or go back to Scotland and be satisfied with a life of getting rained on.

"I chose Australia and I can honestly say I have not looked back."

Mr Speirs won the seat of Bright, in Adelaide, for the centre-right Liberal Party at elections for the Southern Australian Parliament last month. He received more than 10,000 votes, pushing the sitting Labor Party MP, Chloe Fox, into second place.

The MP is also a councillor and deputy mayor of the Adelaide suburb, the City of Marion, and he worked as a government legal adviser after graduating from the University of Adelaide in 2008.

He said: "My rural upbringing has made me the person I am today. The value I place on strong communities and the people in them was forged in rural Scotland.

"It was here that I began to understand the importance of knowing your neighbours and looking for opportunities to make a difference."

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