THE Greens have preselected a bloke called Thor to contest the safe Liberal seat of Tangney at this year’s federal election.
Thor Kerr is no god of thunder but upon hearing the “noble savage” comments of federal MP Dennis Jensen he’s hoping to hammer down the Liberals’ 14 per cent margin.
“I have done a lot of research on Aboriginal culture and I found his speech extremely offensive,” Dr Kerr says.
The Curtin University lecturer has volunteered as a translator in Jakarta slums and villages —where he contracted bronchial pneumonia — and worked as a journo at a “subversive” Jakarta newspaper, coyly evading censorship by feeding stories to international news agencies and then reporting on their reports.
That was followed by a stint as a reporter in the international court of justice in The Hague, covering Yugoslavian war crimes for the likes of the BBC.
Life is now a bit more sedate for the 44-year-old: he has a wife and two kids and has enjoyed domesticity in Riverton for the past 10 years.
But beneath the flower-power shirts and diffident smile, a storm is brewing.
“After moving back to Australia I joined the Greens in 2003 because they were the only major political force opposing the war in Iraq,” he says.
“They fight for issues that the two big two shy away from.
“I’ll be campaigning for more affordable education, maintaining green open spaces and abandoning Roe 8 and redirecting those hundreds of millions into a more holistic transport system.”
Dr Kerr teaches communication and cultural studies at Curtin University and spent three years researching media representation of the tent embassy stand-off at Heirisson Island.
“I think the concentration of media services is bad for this state and hinders fair coverage of Aboriginal issues,” he says.
“Most of the coverage of Heirisson Island focused on Perth council’s efforts to evict Aboriginals, rather than their state and federal legal right to be there. The West needs more of a challenge.”
Dr Kerr, who originally hails from Woodend in Victoria, previously contested Moore (another uber-safe Lib seat) for the Greens in 2004.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK