22 May 2024

Police officer who blasted Summernats 'morons' is Independents for Canberra's first lead candidate

| Ian Bushnell
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plice officer in warehouse

ACT Policing’s Acting Inspector Mark Richardson will run in Ginninderra. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

The police officer who called some Summernats patrons “sub-species of the human race” has been selected as the first endorsed candidate for Independents for Canberra in October’s ACT election.

Acting Inspector Mark Richardson made national headlines with his spray over the anti-social behaviour, including brawling and street burnouts, of some attendees he labelled “moron” tourists at this year’s Summernats car festival at Exhibition Park.

“We have a fair idea where these events are going to occur, but the behaviour of these drivers, they just haven’t evolved very far; I think they’ve really plateaued as a species, a sub-species of the human race,” he said at the time.

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Mr Richardson also hoped the ACT Government would pass new laws to clamp down on such behaviour.

Now he may get a chance to have his say in the Legislative Assembly after being endorsed as a lead candidate in the electorate of Ginninderra.

A Belconnen resident who has lived in Canberra since 1998, Mr Richardson has been a serving Australian Federal Police officer since that time and is currently the Officer in Charge of ACT Road Policing.

Mr Richardson said he decided to put his hand up as an IFC community independent because he wanted to create a safer and more cohesive community.

“I am dedicated to a future where Canberra is a safe and prosperous community for people from all walks of life,” Mr Richardson said.

He said he would stand up for justice and victims’ rights because he had seen firsthand the consequences when that didn’t happen.

“My motivation is to create a safer and more cohesive community for all of us,” he said.

He also wanted to represent the many members of his community who didn’t have a voice.

“I want to be an advocate for those people,” Mr Richardson said.

He said people had become disillusioned with local politics, and he wanted to restore integrity and accountability in the political arena.

Mr Richardson came through early party vetting and a community town hall process where the public could grill potential candidates.

IFC co-founder Thomas Emerson said he was excited to introduce Independents for Canberra’s first formally endorsed candidate to the community.

“Mark is a high-calibre individual with integrity in spades who speaks his mind and wears his heart on his sleeve,” he said.

“He wants to represent his community because he knows we deserve better in the ACT.”

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Mr Emerson said IFC was fortunate to have been approached by a raft of passionate Canberrans who care about our community and are invested in the future of our city.

“This movement is about a diverse group of locals coming together to prove that this is our democracy,” he said.

“No vested interests, no hidden agendas and no party politics.”

Mr Emerson said the IFC would announce more candidates soon.

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J a c k d a w5:34 pm 21 May 24

WHAT are the AFP policy protocols that apply to serving Police who are standing for Elections ?

I thought that Members of the ADF are not allowed to wear their service uniforms in ‘political’ campaign advertisements, for example.

Putting aside his amusingly pithy characterisation of potential Summer-Gnat clients which he made while an acting Inspector, the article refers to him as the civilian “Mr Richardson”. Bushnell’s picture highlights his formal role.

Your article also says that at the moment he “is currently the Officer in Charge of ACT Road Policing.”
For how long will he be permitted to be both on duty, and an Assembly candidate ?
I thought that other public servants were obliged to resign, with a clear prospect of re-appointment if they were electorally un-elected.

Perhaps these few questions may be too trivial considering that the Assembly is little but a glorified city council at heart ?

Presumably Mr Richardson’s life experiences would make him a truly excellent Minister for Light Rail, Motor Vehicles, Scooters and Bicycles, as well as for differently-abled pedestrians.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart5:04 pm 21 May 24

I was very critical of Mr. Richardson for his comments back in January (I remain of the view that a press conference on behalf of the police was an entirely inappropriate place to make statements displaying contempt for any section of the community as the police must act impartially and appear to act impartially) however I applaud him for being willing to take a public stand for his views and try to run for government.

I’m sure we will disagree on many points, but this is the appropriate way for him to make a public stand on his views and I wish him well in doing so, just as I wish all candidates well who stand on honestly-held views no matter what my own opinion of those views may be.

Well said, Samuel. We need to give individuals credit for being willing to step forward and give action to their community beliefs. I wish him/them well also.
With respect to his Summernat comments, I believe he was just demonstrating that the police are people too, and commenting which many of us were already thinking. He merely voiced his frustration, and as that was all it was I personally can look past that.

I worked in the AFP in Canberra for 10years, and have to say that in very general terms uniform Police are not the brightest group I worked with. This law and order agenda is often only a hair away from pretty far right views. Have to see what his other policies are but law and order is not something you want a Police officer to be setting in unless you want to see jack boots on the street.

So, a bit like Qld police such as Dutton huh?

Perhaps we need some balance to counter the current perception of “let them out on bail even if they are likely to re offend”.

No Ken, this group of independents are Independents for Canberra, and are not part of Climate 200, although David Pocock has been surveying voters to see if a field of Climate 200 candidates would be well received in the election (Riotact should ask Pocock to see if they will or not). To confuse matters even more, there are also the (Peter) Strong Independents who will run independent candidates. Climate 200 seem to be focused on the House of Reps.

Yeah I’d like to see who their donors are.

@Ken M
You will get to see who their donors are, at the same time you get to see who has donated to the major parties – when the details are released by AEC.

Unless, like Climate 200 they opt for total transparency and publish their donor list of their own volition on their website, well in advance of the AEC release. – https://www.climate200.com.au/our-donors.

Anything else we can help you with?

LOL. Two replies absoluely foaming at the mouth that I have called out climate 200 buying politicians. Hilarious.

@Ken M
Yep – two replies and you are incapable of providing an intelligent response to either … that lack sums you up really. LOL

There is nothing “independent” about these stooges. They are funded by the same self interested billionaires that fund the teals at a federal level, “Climate 200”.

Make no mistake, these people are bought and paid for.

As opposed to which other politicians who receive donations, Ken M?

I take it you are promoting 100% government funding of elections?

@Ken M
So, Ken – it’s now 2 years since the last federal election.

Perhaps you can point to specific voting patterns or introduced legislation that prove that the teal independents have repaid the ‘Climate 200 billionaires’ and show they were “… bought and paid for.”

Facts please, Ken, rather than frothing at the mouth blithering.

The climate 200 social media shills have arrived, it seems. LOL

Oh dear Ken M. You have no idea but you still feel free to speak on issues where you lack the current facts.

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