Weapons dealer will fight for Mirani in election
IF Stephen Andrew is going to represent the electorate of Mirani, he has a lot of land to cover.
The newly announced One Nation candidate says he is yet to visit the areas of Mt Morgan or Gracemere, but is ready to get on the campaign trail and get into the community.
"We just sort of kicked off but those areas are a very important part of the electorate, as they all are," Mr Andrew said yesterday.
"I work pretty closely with people down as far as Marlborough and a lot of friends in the Rockhampton area, so it will be good to get in there."
Though it's not like he's not busy enough already.
Mr Andrew runs a weapons dealership, Western Action Firearms, a pest management business, CQ Feral, and a mining services business.
But since the mining bust Mr Andrew had started to see signs, as he travelled across the region, that the quality of life he'd come to know growing up in the Bakers Creek area was being eroded.
And he put that down to the behaviour of the two major political parties.
"There was just an on-going barrage (of Labor and the LNP) doing things that didn't do anything for the Australian public," Mr Andrew said.
"It boomed for years and at the end of that they were still looking to sell our assets.
"The morale was there (in the past). But the morale is just nowhere at the moment.
"I really got me to a stage where I thought 'Something has got to change'.
And that's where he believed One Nation had a role to play.
Asked to describe party leader Pauline Hanson and Mr Andrew said she "reflects the views of mostly all Australians, she is a positive and realistic person and inspires the public to have hope for the future".
He also rejected the idea Ms Hanson and the party were racist, instead highlighting his own South Sea Islander heritage and the multicultural community he grew up in.
"My grandfather was Cedric Andrew, he was a very prominent member of Mackay's South Sea Islander community. I grew up in a very multicultural environment," he said.
"In the Baker's Creek area you grow up with a lot of Muslims and with a lot of Christians."
But in his opinion, Australia wasn't yet ready for more immigration.
"We've just got so many of our own issues to sort out. You don't buy a bird without the cage," he said.
Mr Andrew already has part of a team put together but will be looking to expand it in the near future. One Nation has not announced a candidate for the Mackay or Rockhampton electorates but an announcement is expected in the new year.