THE good news is that someone with a genuine interest in motoring and the issues that alarm us all is now, by some definitions, running the country. Everything else is bad news.
Ricky Muir, the unexpectedly elected senator from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast party, has a six-year tenure on money that must make him laugh himself to sleep and, for the next three years at least, his vote will from time to terrifying time decide whether major pieces of legislation are passed (along with the equally alarming cadre of kooks formed by Clive Palmer).
Seems like a good place for a motoring enthusiast to be, but sadly in Mr Muir we’ve got a guy who couldn’t explain, under a light feather-dusting of questions from Mike Willesee, what the Senate actually does, nor, more worryingly, what the aftermarket industry was (although he knows he’s in favour of it, or at least he was on that particular day).
His performance on the Sunday Night program made John Hewson’s famous GST implosion interview look like a piece of cake. He’s since complained that the interview was unethical, in the same way that an adult beating a child at Trivial Pursuit is unethical.
We don’t know a lot about Ricky – other than the fact that he thought it was cool to post a YouTube of his eight-year-old daughter doing a burnout – because he’s been somewhat media shy, and the Willesee experience made it clear why.
Wheels has been pursuing him for an interview for six months, with no luck, because we thought it would be interesting to know what a man with such an encouraging-sounding party thinks about issues that rile our readers – speed cameras, speed limits, driver training and so on.
The offer is still very much open and would probably be illuminating because, while we've heard that Ricky agrees with that giant genius Mr Palmer, we’re not exactly sure what else it is he does stand for. Perhaps he’ll give a speech about the importance of burnouts and we’ll all get to find out. He has said that Street Machine is his most trusted news source, which can only be a good sign.
So far, we’re not overly impressed with his performance, but maybe he’s just warming up his engine. And his brain.
Let’s hope so.