A Few Allies in Brisbane
Surround yourself with really good people. I think that’s an important thing. Because the people you surround yourself are a reflection of you.
– Aaron Rodgers
By the time the 2017 State election had been announced it really was a matter of standing up against the two major parties with a few good people, to try to make a difference. This was as much the case locally as it was at the state level,
At the state level there were some decent people standing as Independents, including Hetty Johnson (the founder and CEO of Bravehearts) Mick Kosenko (legendary tattooist and a small business owner) and Rick Flori (who had left the police force in his fight against police corruption).
Campaigning in Cairns
In Cairns there was by definition no party or institutionalised support for my “Independent” Campaign for re-election. However, I did have a group of loyal supporters who were there when I needed them. People who could see through the major parties and wanted justice, fairness and an MP who could represent local people and not a political party. People like Susan Prince, Simon Perry, Anthony Too, Paul Spray, Donna Mullaly, Steve Brech, John Pratt, Tayte Dalziel, Banyar, Jonathan Straus, Carla Gorton, Sarah Hoyle, Renee Lees. Sandra McGuiness, Harrison George, The Damara family and so many others. I will never forget that their help. Who knows what would have grown from our campaign had it been successful? We will never know, but at least we tried.
While we had campaigned valiantly, as polling day approached we were victims of two targeted attacks that really damaged the campaign. The first was what is known in politics as a ‘shit sheet’ that was letterboxed by the ETU. It repeated the false claim Petros Khaliserad was a stalker and implied I knew this and let him into parliament to intimidate a pregnant female MP. It was as nasty and politically damaging as it was based on false facts.
The other attack came from the extremist religious group ‘Cherish Life’ who rang everyone in the electorate and told them that I supported 9-month abortions. It is an absolutely ludicrous thing to say as there is no such thing as a 9-month abortion. The only thing that happens at 9 months is delivery of what is hopefully a healthy baby. I thought people would see how ridiculous such a claim would be. Alas, some people were happy to believe I would support what would amount to infanticide.
It is almost impossible for an Independent to get elected in the Queensland Parliament. Where it does happen, it is a result of our preferential system. It happens when an independent can garner enough votes to get ahead of one of the major party candidates. The success of an Independent is nearly always dependent on one of the major party candidates polling poorly. My big problem was the fact my LNP opponent Sam Marino was well liked by some sections of the community and had campaigned with great determination and energy. As he was going to get that support on top of the votes of people who ‘always vote LNP anyway’ my greatest fear was that I would not be able to get ahead of Sam to harvest his preferences. This fear was to prove correct.