Former bikie-turned-candidate acknowledges 'colourful past'
HE DOESN'T want to be a politician but it's something former Outcast Motorbike Club member Russell Wattie says he has to do.
Mr Wattie, who spent two-and-a-half years in prison in 1994 for importing the drug LSD, will stand as an Independent for the seat of Maryborough.
Despite his convictions, Mr Wattie is legally able to stand for parliament and while the former bikie admits his past may turn away voters, he urged them to listen to his ideas.
"You'll have the people who are glued on, calling me a criminal and listen to anything Campbell Newman says," he said.
"Yes I have had a colourful past - that's just one brief period of my life."
Mr Wattie noted his other life experiences including learning to read law during his time in prison, being a farmer and now driving trucks.
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An opponent to the Newman Government's controversial bikie laws, Mr Wattie said they had affected him and his family.
"My wife and two daughters cannot go to Station Square Shopping Centre legally (due to association laws)," he said.
He left the Outcast club in September 2011 and said while some members had committed offences, the club was not a criminal group.
"I was never expected to perform any criminal act," he said.
But Member for Maryborough Anne Maddern said the bikie laws were making Queensland safer.
"Law-abiding bikers have nothing to fear from these laws because they clearly target serious criminal activity," she said.
"Maryborough residents will remember the burning down of the three shops in town which was related to criminal gangs."
As for his plans for the Heritage City, Mr Wattie said the creation of jobs and opportunity was a focus.
"Maryborough has a real jobs crisis, yet all the LNP has done for jobs in the last three years is destroy 20,000 public service jobs and oversee an increase in Queensland's unemployment figures to record highs," he said.
"Now they have the cheek to campaign on a platform of creating jobs."
The man who said he would bring "real life experience" to parliament asked voters to consider him.
"The electorate of Maryborough deserves better than the representation of the last term of parliament," he said.
Read his full statement below
Why do I want to be a politician? I don't!
This is something I have to do, not something I want to do.
Over the last few years the various media outlets have written much about me and my past, yet like always they only tell part of the story.
I know that there is much more to me than what they have told, so here follows a few parts of my past
that have not been reported.
When I was 11 years old I completed my first year piano exams at the Melbourne Conservatory of Music passing with credit.
The only practice I had the two weeks prior to the exams was my two half-hour music lessons, my parents said I would regret giving up the piano, of course they were right.
I trained Aussie Rules Football for three teams over fIve years, getting to play one game for each team.
I wasn't much good at football, but after moving to Queensland as a 17 year old took up water polo.
That year I played In the Queensland state water polo championships, (I wasn't much good at water polo either, but it looks good on the resume).
Having been raised by a father who was a farm fencing contractor, I can build a good fence, but don't like doing it.
My stepfather was born and bred on his property so working not only on his farm as a youngster, but a lot of work on local farms in the district.
I've driven tractors In ever diminishing circles, mustered sheep and cattle, worked in a local piggery and did a couple of years of sheep shearing.
I've worked as a truck driver, over the years I've carted livestock, general, produce, express and road training out in the Great Victorian Desert of South Australia, sat on the side of the road during the 1988 Yass blockades, got involved in the politics of road transport at the time.
Other jobs I have worked at include, but are not limited to, boilermaking, fitting, ran my own engineerIng business employing 13 people, been a supervisor, superintendant, union representatlve for the AMWU, a member of the AWU, TWU and the Federated Ironworkers Union.
For eight years I was an active member of the Wangaratta Branch of the Victorian Liberal Party, during which time I served as branch vice-president, male delegate to state council and membership officer.
I attended many fundralsers and poitical gatherings in that time, having met many of the luminaries of the Liberal Party including Australia's current Prime Minister and the then serving PM John Howard.
I have been a member of other great political organisations, like the Moyhu Kindergarten Parents & Citizens Committee and the Moyhu Football Club Committee.
Most people would scoff at mention of Kindergarten P&C as a political organisation - all I can say is go and serve on one and tell me there are no politics involved.
Obviously I am a family man being involved in kindergarten P&C.
I have three girls of my own and two boys and a girl from my wife of 25 years, and a stepdaughter from
my previous marriage - yes, a real life Brady bunch.
As you can see from the above I have participated in a broad range of Australian life, including the things the mainstream media will want to focus on - my former membership of one of the "Declared Criminal Organisations", and time spent many years ago in jail.
The consequence of my life experience is that I can bring to parliament real life experience, that unfortunately in today's climate of career politicians' Is sadly lacking In our leaders.
Maryborough has a real jobs crisis, yet all the LNP has done for jobs in the last three years is destroy 20,000 public service jobs and oversee an increase in Queensland's unemployment figures to record highs.
Now they have the cheek to campaign on a platform of creating jobs.
Sorry but the LNP record shows the opposite effect of their policy's to date.
The LNP are thought by Queensland voters, to be the best at managing Queensland's economy.
Where does it make economic sense to "lease not sell" assets that produce income for the Government?
They say now that if the figures don't add up that it won't happen, yet have stated in the past that if the voters of Queensland re-elect them they will take that as a mandate to privatise via "lease".
So what is it Mr Newman, do the figures have to add up, or will you have a mandate to privatise assets currently owned by the people of Queensland?
The LNP have used what I like to call true lies", to show a reduction in the crime rate.
Last week Mr Newman stated a set of figures that referred to specific areas of Queensland, yet completely neglected to mention the fact these were regional figures.
The implication was that they were state based, but they weren't, so a "true lie".
They have mounted a vicious propaganda campaign to support the VLAD Group of laws.
One recent Courier Mail article saw the QPS claim that one local motorcycle club had disbanded completely due to the VLAD laws.
The Outcast MC disbanded in Queensland some 14 months before the Newman Government was even elected, that's how good they are.
On the subject of the VLAD group of laws, Queenslanders need to understand the word bikie, or motorcycle club, is not mentioned anywhere in the laws.
In this Act, association means any of the following:
- (a) a corporation
- (b) an unincorporated association
- (c) a club or league
- (d) any other group of three or more persons by whatever name called, whether associated fornally or infornall and whether the group Is legal or illegal.
That, Queenslanders, means anyone of you or rather any three of you can be regarded as a criminal organisation.
Remember that when the VLAD group of law was brought in, the LNP declared the 26 clubs to be "declared criminal organisation" with no judicial process whatsoever.
You could be next; it is just the stroke of a pen.
I could go on for hours about the areas of the VlAD group of laws that do not meet Queensland's own Legislative
Standards Act 1992, and also international treaties that Australia is signatory to, and in April of last year the International Court in their decision in Horvath v Australia clearly shows that as far as the International Court is concerned the tenants of the international covenant on civil and political rights are taken by them to be law in Australia.
For anyone that is interested to know my understanding of the position on these laws, please feel free to contact me.
Should the people of the electorate of Maryborough choose to elect me as their representative to the Parliament of
Queensland, I will fight to see that the government of the day governs in a fair and legal manner for the good of
Queensland and promote legislation that has genuine possibility of creating jobs and opportunity for the residents of the Maryborough electorate and Queensland as a whole.
I will oppose asset sales under whatever terminology the government tries to sell them I will fight political corruption both within the parliament and within the public service, including QPS, at every opportunity.
I will work towards fair legislation for Queensland farmers and road network users, including the transport industry.
I will work to achieve a Bill of Rights to protect Queenslanders from governments who may choose to overrule them.
The Electorate of Maryborough deserves better than the representation of the last term of parliament, we deserve
someone who is prepared to take the government of the day to task and hold them responsible for the decisions they make that affect the Maryborough electorate and Queensland as a whole.