With her party battling scandal and the resignation of one of its Queensland senate candidates yesterday, One Nation candidate for Nicholls Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell kept the focus entirely local.
The 36-year-old mother of two and dairy farmer moved to the region last year with her family.
‘‘My husband and I purchased a 200-acre dairy last year in February to become our home and business, hopefully for the rest of our days,’’ she said.
‘‘Since moving to the area I have been amazed with how instantly at home I have felt. Our neighbours and community members are an amazing bunch of Aussie people who are always on for a chat and willing to help each other. The community spirit is one of which I do not want to see lost from a rapidly fading agricultural industry.’’
But Ms Tyrrell said the move was soon soured by water issues.
‘‘One of the main attractions for us to set up our business here was the incredible irrigation infrastructure and soils. But unfortunately, we have seen it going to waste as the price of water has increased by more than $500 per megalitre. Nobody in the district that I have spoken to had predicted this hiked increase.’’
Ms Tyrrell said the skyrocketing price of water was driving farmers off the land.
‘‘Our region was known as ‘The food bowl’ of the country. But now our farmers are struggling to even put food on their own tables, let alone the rest of the nation.’’
The issue of water, more than any other prompted Ms Tyrrell’s launch into politics.
‘‘The fact that (One Nation chief) Pauline (Hanson) herself has visited the local areas being so hard hit by the MDBP (Murray-Darling Basin Plan) shows that she is listening. And for her to chase me down to represent her party because of my concern and passion to fix this problem is an incredible chance for our seat to get a party on our side to really push for the changes we need in Parliament,’’ Ms Tyrrell said.
While realistic about her prospects, Ms Tyrrell said she would like to stay in politics for the long haul.
‘‘I may not get elected in this term. And if I don’t, then I will have three years to learn all I can from the (One Nation) team to benefit our seat come the next election. And push them to continue to fight for our needs in Parliament.’’