Age no barrier for One Nation hopeful

Fisher, Qld


One Nation

“I couldn’t in good conscience just be another number.” One Nation candidate for Fisher, Sam Schriever

At just 20, Sam Schriever believes his young age is a benefit in his candidacy for the Sunshine Coast electorate of Fisher representing Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party. “Who are the younger generation going to resonate with more?” he asks. “Someone from their own generation or another 50-year-old white male from the Liberal Party?”

When asked what sparked his interest in politics, Schriever says a frustration for where the government was putting money or, more specifically, not putting money, was a catalyst.

“Before I left for school, I was watching the morning news and I saw the referendum for gay marriage,” he says. “For me being a kid going to school it was mind-blowing because I thought ‘why do we need to have any say in what they do because it’s not hurting anybody?’. To see that kind of money ($80.5 million) spent while my neighbours were struggling to put food on the table was just unreasonable.”

While the gay marriage referendum in 2017 gave Schriever a frustrated first glance at politics and thoughts that he could do a better job than those in power at the time, it was the Australian Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that really put his political aspirations into motion. “We have basically had our freedoms dangled on a stick in front of us like a carrot on a stick,” he says. “That is definitely one of the main reasons that I am doing this.”

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party may seem like an odd place to find a 20-year-old candidate, so what does Schriever offer that has the potential to sway the rusted-on Liberal National Party electorate of Fisher?

“I would like to enact some of the policies that we have as One Nation,” he says. “I would like to lower the cost of living and create more jobs while also reducing government spending. I also would begin a monthly online meeting, where I would give every resident [of Fisher] a rundown of what I have been doing, what I am going to do. Giving people a way to hold their politician accountable.”

Mr Schriever would also like to implement Blockchain technology to communicate with his electorate. Blockchain technology is the brand-new high-tech advancement that has taken the world by storm in the past few years…but you may have not heard of it. Blockchain technology is essentially a shared technology that allows for confidential information to be safely and securely traded, tracked, or sent. The technology has largely been associated with the major digital currency Bitcoin. Blockchain has never before been put to use in a political sense, but Schriever is looking to change that.

“It’s a big thing asking one person to represent over 100,000 people,” he says. “I want to set up a digital system where every single resident of my electorate will have a way to collectively vote on issues before me in Parliament and decide how I respond in real time. Essentially, I will be giving people a way to control their politician, because that is what a politician is supposed to be. They are supposed to be a tool for people to govern each other, not someone who governs over everyone else.”

Schriever’s decision to join far right politician Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party was born out of wanting a fairer democracy as well as an alignment with his own personal values and beliefs. “Anyone can agree that for democracy to exist Parliament should have a diverse range of parties representing them,” he says. “I don’t like those parties [The Australian Labor Party and The Liberal Nationals Party] but even if I did, I wouldn’t have chosen to join them purely for that fact that they are too dominant in Parliament. I couldn’t in good conscience just be another number.”

Since it’s conception in 1997, One Nation has traditionally adopted a number of far-right policies and ideas such as reducing the intake of refugees into the country, supporting the banning of wearing a Burqa in the classroom and more recently the denial of climate change and COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Ms Hanson, the party’s founder and leader, is a household name. Her “tell it like it is” attitude and long list of political stunts and scandals make her a hot topic.

“I think it’s the first time I have ever been star struck,” Mr Schriever says of meeting her. “She’s unfiltered in person just like she is on the news. It was a very surreal moment.”

Single mother Kaytee Hannah, 24, says that she isn’t aware of many younger politicians but is starting to see a shift.

“I feel like slowly there are positive changes rippling through the older generations,” she says. “I am purely going off watching my grandparents and they are in their 50s! Their way of thinking is beginning to change and they are starting to open their eyes to ideas that they wouldn’t have in the past.”

Born in Bundaberg before being raised on the Sunshine Coast, Mr Schriever says it’s the diversity of scenery that he loves about his town and more specifically about his electorate.

“It’s not overdeveloped, you can go to the beach and then drive 15 minutes inland and be on top of a mountain,” he says. Regardless of age, Schriever believes he has what it takes to change the electorate of Fisher for the better.