TIARO’S Camel is riding high on his hog in the race to the Senate but he hasn’t hit any humps in the road yet.
The controversial Outcasts motor cycle club, patch-wearing member and official spokesperson for the United Motor Cycle Council of Queensland, was yesterday fielding phone calls, back slaps, handshakes and emails after the news broke he had nominated for the Senate in the Federal election.
“My running partner is Pastor John, the former Gypsy Jokers member, who now works with homeless in Brisbane,” said 49-year-old Russell “Camel” Wattie.
“We’re grouped on the same ticket, as independents, and even though people may think it’s a disreputable thing to belong to a bikers’ club, I will not adopt the political expediency so many politicians do and now walk away from the Outcasts.”
Nor will Camel, who reads three newspapers a day, shave off his significant beard – “unless someone raises more than the $3600 I raised last year for Shave for a Cure”.
The former Victorian, who admits he thinks Sarah Palin “is hot” and who belonged to the Liberal Party for eight years until last month “when I couldn’t really afford to pay the membership fee”, is fighting the election on a platform of giving truckies a fairer go, “sorting out” the new Criminal Organisations Act and “just plain telling the truth, which truly independent politicians can do”.
The father of seven admits to having served time – in Victoria and in the Netherlands – but he says the experiences have given him a rare insight into how Australia can better rehabilitate prisoners.
“For the record, I was jailed here for taking LSD as a young man and in Holland for having worked with a man who eventually kidnapped and shot his victim. I was not with him when the murder occurred and I did not know it was going to occur. The court reduced my sentence on appeal because it too did not believe I was that closely involved in the crime.”
Camel, who is recovering from a broken back after his motor bike hit a deep pothole on a public road last year, says he has been a workaholic all his life and if he can no longer do physical work he wants to “serve the Australian people with fair dinkum Aussie honesty”.
As for Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, Camel asks: “Is there a third choice?”
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