FRANK Sheehan spent more than a decade in the public eye as a Labor MP, but his service to the community runs much deeper than that.
Mr Sheehan, 80, has today been honoured as an Order of Australia Medalist (OAM) for his decades of service to the Ballarat community.
The former mechanic served as the Labor member for Ballarat South from 1982-92 under the Cain and Kirner Labor state governments.
Mr Sheehan said he always had politics at his heart even though it took him three attempts to win his seat in parliament.
“I’d always been interested in the community and the possibility of politics being an area where you can help out people with their various needs and concerns,” he said.
One of his proudest political moments was being involved in the creation of work place laws.
“I had many cases of people coming to me with work injuries,” he said. “Worksafe and Workcover compensation never existed at the time and there was some legislation in the early days of the Cain government that addressed all those issues.”
After losing the seat what is now Buninyong in 1992, Mr Sheehan continued his service at the Overseas Service Bureau which now is known as Australian Volunteers International
“They are an organisation that recruit and send people to volunteer in other countries,” he said.
“I was asked to be involved in a program for them known as Beyond Borders. It was a program that invited people from 12 different nations to come to Australia to experience our culture and lifestyle.”
In more recent times, he was a founding member of Moving Towards Justice which provides support for abuse victims. He was involved in the program from 2012-16 and still helps collect hampers for victims at Christmas.
Mr Sheehan said he wished to thank the support of his wife Rosalie and four children Jane, Michael, Roseanne and Katrina.
“Some people must think I’m worthy of it, otherwise they wouldn’t have nominated me,” he said.