Senator-elect Ricky Muir, set to become one of the most powerful players in Australian politics, has revealed he may be in need of some media training.
Less than a month before he becomes one of the most powerful players in Australian politics, senator-elect Ricky Muir has admitted in to easily getting flustered when talking about an issue that should be close to his heart.
The Motoring Enthusiasts Party senator, who will be part of a balance-of-power bloc along with the Palmer United Party (PUP) when he begins his six-year term from July, fumbled his way through a rare media interview on Sunday evening.
Asked to explain what he meant by the “after-market” automobile industry the South Australian stumbled with his answer and before taking a break.
“There’s the after-market industry which can be supported … people that are losing their jobs … sorry … can we start that question again?” he says to the Seven Network’s Mike Willesee.
“There’s the after-market industry … which … um … sorry, can we go to another question? I’ve got myself into a fluster.”
“The after-market industry is the industry that is … can I go out for a minute?”
After a short break, Mr Muir returns, and Willesee advises him to answer questions as if he’s talking to someone at a pub.
Mr Muir, who has maintained his job at a timber mill ahead of the move to Canberra, also struggles to explain what it means to hold the balance of power in the Senate.
“Yes, it’s the potential if, aah, say in this case Labor and the Greens, umm, it’s the power to vote down legislation in the right circumstances,” he said.
PUP leader and businessman Clive Palmer on Monday attacked the Sunday Night program’s story as “biased and churlish”.
“Mike Willesee recorded about an hour of a really serious interview with me about political things and other things but he didn’t show any of that,” he told ABC radio.
“He doesn’t show you all of the footage. Just selective pieces.”
Mr Palmer described Mr Muir as an “ordinary” Australian.
“He’s there because people think he’s more in contact with the real world,” the Queensland lower house MP said.
The interview with Mr Muir was part of a broader story on the PUP with which Mr Muir, a father-of-five from the Gippsland town of Heyfield, will join forces from next month when the Senate changes over.
Jacqui Lambie, a former soldier and the PUP’s Tasmanian senator-elect, doesn’t hesitate when asked about her favourite weapon.
“Definitely M60 (submachine gun). Its massive firepower. Yeah, when you’ve got it in your hands,” she said.
WA senator-elect Dio Wang said he would vote with his heart even if that means crossing Mr Palmer.
Asked if he had stood up to Mr Palmer in the past, Mr Wang replied: “Not yet, because he has been always right so far.”
“He is already a great leader.”
Come July 1, there will be three PUP senators, including Glenn `The Brick with Eyes’ Lazarus.
Mr Muir was elected after securing 0.01 per cent of the primary vote.
Mr Palmer is threatening to use his Senate team to block some of the federal coalition government’s budget measures.