David commenced his career in law in 1976 in Canberra. A decade later, David sought to widen his horizons and relocated to Queensland, where he opened up the first law practice in Cooktown since 1935.
In the late '90s, David part-owned and managed a Cape York cattle station which gave him great insight into the challenges of the industry in the north. He was an active member of the Cape branch of the Cattleman’s Union for many years and he has been serving his community in some capacity ever since.
From 2012 to 2015 David was elected as the Member for Cook and subsequently appointed Assistant Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. During this time, he helped set up the first organization of indigenous mayors (now TCICA). In 2003, David moved to Cairns with his family and continued in private practice until 2007 when he joined Preston Law.
David has the expertise to find solutions through legal, political, and public processes to resolve many issues facing farmers including:
- Land tenure including lease renewals and conversion to freehold
- Vegetation management appeals and criminal prosecutions
- Native title claims and clearances
- Water allocations
- Planning and Environment Court
- Judicial review of Government decisions.
David has lived, worked and travelled throughout Cape York and the Far North for over a quarter of a century and has been a keen advocate for the property rights of landholders everywhere. He has been involved in the native title process since the Mabo decision and was involved in the long struggle over the WIK claim on behalf of pastoralists where a settlement was negotiated in 2004. David has been persistent in his efforts to protect small landholders from big government.