“…This must be one of the most anticipated inaugural speeches of all time — I apologise in advance if I don’t deliver.”
This humble line was one of the first official utterances in the Upper House from the man who has undoubtedly become Australia’s unexpected Senator, Ricky Muir.
The Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party (AMEP) senator rose to power in 2013 on the back of preference votes, and formed an alliance with the Palmer United Party as a means of having some real power in the upper house – made his first official speech in the chamber yesterday.
Muir is known for his down-to-earth attitude, and he made this clear within the first few minutes of his inaugural Senate speech when he made reference to the fact he had never owned a suit until that fateful day in 2013.
“I’m wearing a suit – before September the 7th, 2013, I did not own a single suit. And I had no intention of ever owning one,” Muir said candidly, before pointing out he would be more than happy in shorts and a hi-vis vest.
Photo source: Senator Ricky Muir’s Facebook page.
Muir then went on to discuss his aims in the Senate.
“Why would a rural-based, family-orientated, timber industry worker with a love of family time, four-wheel-driving, the bush, dirt bikes and competing in motorsport put his hand up to relinquish his quiet, idyllic lifestyle for the fast-paced, highly stressed and highly scrutinised lifestyle that comes with being in the political spotlight?” Muir posited – obviously a question he had been asked many times over.
“Our Senate and the decisions which govern our lives should not be solely represented by the political class,” Muir asserted.
“I was continuously unsatisfied with what appeared to be our only options at the time of election were two parties that were so ideologically different that no middle ground was to be seen,” he said. “I was unsatisfied that our elected representatives were bound by preconceived party positions, which in turn goes against the very definition of representative democracy.”
Muir spoke about the reasons he, and the AMEP, have garnered support in the community – and, somewhat unsurprisingly, cars play a big part.
“The Motoring Enthusiasts Party are strong supporters of motor sport, and are keen to spread the word on the social and economic value it brings to our community, particularly in regional areas,” he said.
However, Muir’s strong statements on the fairness of government were more powerful.
“We believe that all levels of government are servants to the will of the people. I do not want to use my position as an obstructionist, but I do believe to express the views of my state and my constituents, and try to balance legislation with the view of ‘is it fair, or not?’,” Muir said.
“Good ideas well presented will get support,” he said. “Bad ideas, or ideas that are likely to hurt those who are worse off, will not.”
You can watch the full speech by Senator Ricky Muir above.
Tell us what you think – do you think the AMEP will have an impact in the Upper House?