Queensland bikie vies for Senate seat
July 20, 2010 - 5:29PM
He's served time, he has tattoos, he's a bikie - and he's running for a Queensland Senate seat.
Outcasts Motorcycle Club member Russell "Camel" Wattie has ridden into the election campaign, announcing he will register as an independent candidate on Wednesday.
Mr Wattie, 49, said his two-and-a-half years behind bars as well as his time as a truckie and bikie have given him insider information that could help improve the corrective service system, transport issues and new anti-bikie laws.
"I'm not hiding anything in my past," Mr Wattie told AAP.
"I'm a hard worker and I pay taxes."
Mr Wattie, who has a Grim Reaper tattoo, said if he won a Senate seat he would work to overturn anti-association legislation in Queensland, NSW and South Australia that's directed at dismantling outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Under the legislation, groups can be called criminal organisations and members banned from associating with each other.
"The laws are fundamentally flawed," Mr Wattie said.
"Personal freedom is being destroyed, and it's not just for bikies.
"The fact is that a criminal organisation can be three people of an incorporated or unincorporated body, or any type of organisation whatsoever."
Mr Wattie drove trucks interstate for many years, and said it is time to nationalise road rules, including speed limits and registration.
"The different road laws are a nightmare for anyone who either regularly or occasionally crosses state borders," he said.
"We need a single set of road laws across this great land of ours."
Mr Wattie said he had served time in Australia and Holland for drug, firearm and kidnapping offences, and said the experience served as an eye-opener to flaws in the system.
"If you want someone who can give you a very good reason why there should be prison reforms, I've experienced a prison system in Victoria that at the time had the second-worst reoffending rate in the world," he said.
He said literacy rates in jails need to be improved, as well as rehabilitation for drug addicts.
Mr Wattie has run a successful engineering services business and said he would campaign for small business over big business.