Paul was born in Bunbury and raised in the small south west town of Burekup.
He entered the Royal Australian Navy in 1978 and served in the military for 26 years eventually qualifying as a Navy Clearance Diver, serving in the counter terrorist squadron of the Special Air Service Regiment and deployed on operations to Iraq on two occasions.
In the course of his military career, Paul commanded a Clearance Diving Team, a navy patrol boat and the Navy's submarine escape and rescue service. He was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross and Commendations from both the Land and Maritime Commanders before leaving the service in early 2004.
Paul and his wife Gillian were self-employed in small business when he was approached to consider pre-selection for WA Labor in the lead up to the Peel by-election in late 2006.
Paul was elected to the seat of Peel in February 2007, then elected to the new seat of Warnbro in September 2008 and re-elected to that seat in 2013 and 2017.
Paul served in the Shadow Ministry after WA Labor lost office in 2008 as Shadow Minister for Tourism, Corrective Services and Defence Issues.
In March 2017, Paul was appointed as a Minister in the new McGowan Government, with the portfolios for Tourism, Racing and Gaming, Small Business, Defence Issues, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.