MP George Christensen shrugs off threats, talks the future
WHETHER you love him or hate him, one thing is for sure: current Member for Dawson George Christensen is certainly not shy about airing his views.
And this outspoken nature has landed him in some interesting situations, to say the least.
"I'm big enough and ugly enough to weather it (criticism) and if you're not, get out of politics I suppose," he said.
"That's what happens. I've had people say all sorts of things, even death threats. I've had the National Department of Justice do assessments on my home security because of death threats.
"They say you should always report it, but I also think it's just people blowing off steam.
"I don't think people are serious when they say 'I'll come around and shoot you', or whatever.
"A guy who wasn't even in my electorate told me he was going to drive a car into my house."
However, despite critics, including some sections of the national media, the 37-year-old's aversion to political correctness was welcomed by many voters in the electorate prior to his win in the 2013 Federal election.
Now, he's back on the campaign trail and the journalist-turned politician, who encourages "getting government out of people's lives", has an overarching message: jobs, jobs, jobs.
"Job creation is by far the biggest issue for me now. When I talk to people and ask what the biggest issue is they say 'jobs, daylight and some other issue, often roads," he said.
"We have seen over the last four years the decimation of employment in mining. Yes, because of cyclical movements in coal pricing nationally, but also because of government imposts.
"... we had the carbon tax, the mining tax. There was investment jitters and the backside fell out of the coal pricing and here we are.
"What hasn't helped is the constant agitation against the projects which could create jobs in our region... referring mainly to the Adani project, but also things like the Urannah Dam, which these rabid environmentalists want shut down before it's been spawned as an idea.
"Green groups are also against the expansion of agriculture, sugar cane, farming…these are the things I believe we're good at in Mackay."
"I think there's a major benefit for us here in two things: agriculture and our resources, beyond mining.
"I would love to see a national push for energy... and what we can do in terms of thorium, uranium, and I'm not talking about nuclear power, but digging it up (for export)."
When it came to refugees and asylum seekers, a current hot topic, Mr Christensen said he felt for the plight of those fleeing conflict zones, but he believed "charity begins at home".