David O'Byrne was born in 1969, the youngest of three children. His
father was a tradie painter, a shop steward, and a life member of his union.
His mother is the daughter of a Coral Sea veteran and a council clerk. She was
a cleaner who was elected by her peers as a shop steward for her union.
David grew up in Launceston and studied at the University of Adelaide, where he gained a degree in Labour Studies. He moved to Hobart in 1994.
His passion for social justice led him into the union movement: firstly, with the Health and Community Service Union in 1993. In 1994 he joined the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU-now United Voice).
David was elected as Secretary of the LHMU in 2001 and re-elected unopposed in 2002 and 2006. He also served as National Vice-President of the union between 2008 and 2010, and Senior Vice-President of Unions Tasmania from 2001 to 2009. From 2004 to 2006 David was State President of the ALP Tasmanian Branch.
David’s leadership has steered successful outcomes in campaigns to get better wages and conditions for child-care workers, casino workers and cleaners. He has fought for job security for public school cleaners and grounds people, as well as for greater recognition for early years professionals. He played a leading role in the Your Rights at Work Campaign. While with the LHMU, David led the Union’s campaign to make Tasmania the first state to protect hospitality workers and the public by introducing a ban on smoking in enclosed areas of bars and casinos.
At the 2010 State election David was elected to Parliament as a member for Franklin. He was sworn straight into cabinet and the portfolios of Environment, Parks and Heritage, Workplace Relations, Arts, Sport and Recreation and Hospitality. In December 2010, his ministries changed to Workplace Relations, Economic Development and Infrastructure.
In late January 2011, he took on the additional portfolio of
Innovation, Science and Technology. In May 2011, the Police and Emergency
Management portfolio was also added to his ministerial responsibilities.
David has made significant contributions to the community through his roles as Chair of Smoke Free Tasmania, member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Child Care, member of the State Facilitating Group Anti-Poverty Week Organising Committee, Co Chair of Anti-Poverty Week Organising Committee, Founding member and Chair of the Peace Coalition (a group established to protest the invasion of Iraq), and Treasurer of the Tasmanian Peace Trust. David is also the Patron of QUIT Tasmania.
David lives in Hobart with his wife Tonia and two daughters, Lily and Ava.