Businessman and 1986 Australian of the Year Dick Smith has vowed to run for Bronwyn Bishop’s parliamentary seat as an independent should the former speaker win Liberal Party preselection this weekend.
Smith took out a large ad on page five of The Australian newspaper this morning to urge Liberal Party members in the seat of Mackellar, located in Sydney’s northern beaches, to choose a candidate who does not believe in “exponential growth in a finite world”.
“Please consider the future of our children and grandchildren when casting your vote to select the Liberal candidate for Mackeller,” the ad reads.
“Please reject the clearly non-democratic party machine. Don’t be manipulated by the factions.”
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Speaking to SmartCompany this morning, Smith says he is concerned about politicians who keep talking about growth but never admit endless growth is unsustainable.
“I’ll definitely be running if Bronwyn is successful,” Smith says.
“I’ll be running as an independent.”
Smith would easily snatch the blue-ribbon seat from Bishop should she be given the nod of approval by Liberal Party preselectors this weekend, according to The Australian.
Smith would receive a primary vote of 54% in comparison to Bishop’s 21% at the next federal election, MediaReach polling shows.
Tax reform and slashing “ridiculous” red tape on Smith’s agenda
When asked what policies he will champion if he decides to enter politics, Smith jokes he has policies that will make him “unpopular with everyone”.
“The top 15% of taxpayers should pay more tax,” Smith says.
“At the same time, we should work to reduce the rorting in the social benefits system. So I’ve got something to offend everyone.
“My policy will be to live within our means, so not to borrow from our children’s future. I think it’s outrageous when children are born today they’ve got a debt to pay back.”
While Smith is especially passionate about red tape in the aviation industry, he says he holds similar views about red tape that affects all small businesses.
“I’d work to reduce some of the ridiculous bureaucracy for small business,” he says.
“I started my business in 1968. I couldn’t do the same today because of the ridiculous occupational health and safety rules, ridiculous paperwork required.”
Last year, Dick Smith threatened to run against Tony Abbott to raise awareness of the issues affecting the aviation industry.