Steep learning curve for our new senator

Senator Ricky Muir with wife Kerrie-Anne and 19-month-old son Tristan.
Senator Ricky Muir with wife Kerrie-Anne and 19-month-old son Tristan.

FROM between jobs to the balance of power, Senator Ricky Muir feels he has already achieved a lot.

Ten months after being elected, Senator Muir formally took up his position in federal parliament’s house of review in early July, but barely had time to settle before deciding on the fate of the carbon tax.

“It was a very busy period and we made it through,” he told the Gippsland Times.

“We made it through quite fine, quite surprisingly.

“It would have been nice to have more time up our sleeves for that situation, but we did get through.”

Before voting to scrap it, Senator Muir had considered community views on the carbon tax, but also sought to maintain Australia’s commitment to renewable energy.

“As a voter, I didn’t particularly want a carbon tax in the first place,” he said.

“The majority of people I’d spoken to feel exactly the same.

“I was very fond of saving AREnA, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

“There was an opportunity to not only save AREnA, but also the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the renewable energy target.

“Removing the carbon tax was an opportunity to save the research and development through clean energy, which I believe is the way of the future.

“To save AREnA in my first week; I think I’ll be proud of that for the rest of my life.”

Senator Muir said the carbon tax repeal could benefit business, cutting red tape and encouraging more employment.

The father of five, representing the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party, was the surprise of last September’s federal election when he was elected to fill the sixth and final Senate spot up for grabs for Victoria.

At 0.51 per cent, it was the lowest primary vote a successful lead candidate had received in Australian electoral history.

At the time, Senator Muir was between jobs in the timber industry.

The result was even more surprising considering it was the first election the AMEP had contested.

“I was literally sitting in the backyard, fire lit up, legs kicked back in a chair, sitting with a beer, thinking ‘you know, this time in three years, we’ll be doing the same again’,” Senator Muir said of his election night.

“I got a phone call at 11pm, saying ‘looks like we’ve got a seat and it’s you’.

“(I said) ‘surely not this early in the piece, it’d be a couple a weeks’, but it turned out that was the case.”

The result sparked a national media frenzy, with journalists wanting to find out who Ricky Muir was.

The search unearthed the infamous YouTube video of him throwing kangaroo droppings during a camping trip.

“Whenever it’s even mentioned now, it takes me back to a happy, fun camping trip with my brother, who just happens to be my best friend,” Senator Muir said.

“So when that video came out, all I could do was laugh.

“It wasn’t the best way to present myself, but unfortunately that’s what the media found.

“In reality, it takes me to a happy time.”

Between being elected and formally entering the Senate, Senator Muir was juggling work commitments and preparing for a new life in politics.

“I did what I had to do,” he said.

“It would have been great to sit back and read through legislation for so long, but at the end of the day, the bills don’t pay themselves,” he said.

Having taken up his position and established an office in Melbourne, Senator Muir is looking to get out and talk to people across the state.

“Listen to the people of Gippsland, listen to Victoria because that is my constituency, and take on board what they’ve got to say,” he said.