Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party has claimed its first seat in Queensland’s 2017 election with the electorate of Mirani, which spans from Rockhampton to Mackay in central Queensland.
One Nation candidate Stephen Andrew looks set to become both the first South Sea Islander ever elected to Queensland Parliament and One Nation’s only joy after up to six One Nation seats were predicted before Saturday’s election.
Both Fairfax Media and ABC election analyst Antony Green have called One Nation as the winner of the seat of Mirani, over Labor’s long-serving MP Jim Pearce.
Mr Andrew on Monday night had not yet claimed the win, but was excited to be told the seat had been decided.
“I thought I always had a fair shot at it,” Mr Andrew said.
“I don’t know if you are ever prepared for it, the first time you go into it,” he said after being informed of his likely win.
“But I’m there.”
Mr Andrew said he believed the Mackay community wanted a change from the well-known Jim Pearce and Labor.
“Being well known and being the best person for the job are two different things,” Mr Andrew said.
“Jim has been in the electorate for quite some time and from what I can gather from the vote and from the people to whom I have spoken it’s time for someone else and it is not Jim.”
Mr Andrew is a licensed weapons dealer, has worked as a pest controller and sells mining equipment.
He is also a Mackay-born, fourth-generation descendent of South Sea Islanders brought to Queensland decades ago to work on coastal farms.
“If I have indeed been elected to Parliament I will be the first South Sea Islander 'kanaka' Australian descendent to be elected to State Parliament.”
Last night he told how his South Sea Islander grandfather had written a book about his family’s time working in Queensland farms, called Fields of Sorrow.
“Grandad wrote that from his memory," he said.
"It basically told the story of all the different people and families bought over from the South Sea Islands to work on the sugar cane in Queensland.”
Mr Andrew said he liked to see people “more listened to” and to be able to have “more ownership” on what happened in the state.
“Rather than the parties dishing what they believed the people should receive.”
He listed improvements to Mackay roads, the Rookwood Weir and improved water infrastructure as his focus.
Labor has 43 confirmed seats, the LNP has 36 confirmed seats, One Nation has the seat of Mirani, there are two Katter’s Australian Party seats and independent Sandy Bolton has won Noosa in the 93-seat Queensland Parliament.
A government needs 47 seats.
There are now 10 seats to be decided.
This story first appeared on Brisbane Times.