Dickson's bid to go from strip club scandal to 'champion'
STEVE Dickson is adamant he is a victim of "unethical journalism", but that hasn't stopped him from re-entering the political arena.
The former One Nation Queensland leader this morning put his hand up to run as an independent for Division 7 in the upcoming Sunshine Coast election, against incumbent councillor Ted Hungerford and fellow candidate Cam Young.
Mr Dickson said he hoped to be the local community's "champion" of local government, rather than another bureaucrat, after being urged to run for the seat.
"I think bureaucracy has probably gone a bit mad, and they need a circuit-breaker in there that's going to look after the people, look after local community," he said.
"That's what I'm good at, it's what I've done for a long time, and I want to use that experience."
Mr Dickson faced intense public scrutiny almost 10 months ago after he was secretly filmed making derogatory comments and touching a dancer in a US strip club.
Footage from Al Jazeera was also released showing Mr Dickson and Pauline Hanson's chief-of-staff, James Ashby, discussing political donations and strategies to undermine Australia's gun restrictions with powerful pro-gun advocates in Washington.
Mr Dickson later apologised for the leaked strip club footage and resigned as Queensland's One Nation leader.
He told the Daily the coverage that followed was "absolutely unethical".
"I've explained to the world what happened," he said. "It was unethical journalism, they lied and they misled everybody in our country."
Last year Mr Dickson called for the country's chief intelligence organisation to investigate the undercover footage and said the extensive reporting on the scandal almost drove him to suicide.
"The bullying that occurred by the media at that stage ... it was absolutely unethical," he told the Daily this morning.
"It hurt my family, it nearly drove me to a point of doing something that I'm ashamed to think that I could have ever done as a human being.
"There's many many good journalists out there, it's just some of them are bringing the industry down. I think it's like anything, you know, some of them need to be cleaned out."
Now focusing on his future on the Sunshine Coast, Mr Dickson hopes to return to his roots with local government after being approached by members of the community to run for the Division 7 seat.
"I was a country mile away from politics to be brutally honest," he said.
"There's a lot of good people behind me, and I just feel very very fortunate that I've had a number of people come to me already."
He said he hoped to tackle a number of issues in Buderim including bringing back the Urban Food Street, ensuring the Krauss locomotive became a permanent structure in the town centre and improving public transport.
"From what I have been able to observe and heard from many residents in the last couple of years Division 7 is not being properly represented by the current member and that is why I have been approached to stand again for public office," he said.
Mr Young, who drove for Mr Dickson when he was a minister in for Campbell Newman's Queensland government, said his former boss had mentioned to him that hey may have a run at council.
Having previously contested the state seat of Maroochydore for One Nation, Mr Young said he would now stand as an independent.
Before joining One Nation, Mr Dickson represented the Maroochy Shire for six years from 2000 and was a State MP from 2006.
Current Councillor says upcoming election to be 'interesting'
Current Division 7 Councillor Ted Hungerford says it's going to be an "interesting campaign" in the lead up to the March election.
He told the Daily he had heard rumours three weeks ago that Steve Dickson would run for his seat, but he had made a rule of not reacting to rumours.
"Anyone can run for anything. It's a democratic right," he said.
Cr Hungerford faced criticism from both his opponents, with Mr Young accusing him of being the council's representative in Division 7 rather than the Division 7 representative in council.