The villagers are talking. Word has it that Dick Smith of Dick-Smith-the-pilot-slash-millionairebusinessman fame has crawled out of his cave after waking from a docile period of hibernation, contradicting hibernation traditions and shocking people and animals everywhere. It is winter. It is time for sleep. But sleep he does not. No, Dick is here and Dickier than ever. In March he registered his own political party in New South Wales and now has announced plans to compete with Tony Abbott himself for a seat in the Warringah district. The 71-year-old hopes he isn’t elected. “I’m too old to be a politician,” he says. Then why? Why, Dick? Why are you doing this?
He does it for publicity, thoughtful reader.
Publicity is a fine tool. Publicity, as Ebony Graveur’s Book of Words states, is: “That thing wot you do so other people and cats can see and then tell other people about.” In layman's terms, Dick Smith’s grand plan is to raise awareness by creating this publicity - publicity that will in turn force the government to address an issue about which he is passionate.
Dick Smith learnt to fly as a keen 28-year-old. Around 20 years later, he glides across Australia with his sidekick John Wallington in a hot air balloon, redefining adventure and setting the record for the first nonstop expedition to cross Australia.
As the former head of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Dick Smith is passionate about aviation safety. He claims that the current state of aviation policy is “utterly ridiculous” and told Fairfax Media that “it will be fixed after an accident”.
Smith told the ABC that the system used by the United States as well as in both Canada and Europe is safer than that used in Australia. “Whenever you are in radar coverage the air traffic controller is controlling your aeroplane and keeping you separate from other aeroplanes. In Australia it’s completely different,” he says. “Below 8,500 feet the pilot is on a 1930s system using his or her radio trying to keep apart.”
But who will get the vote? Who, according to the Australian people, is the better Dick? According to usama91 on OzBargain, “Dicksmiths [sic] pretty crap”. But their unforgiving view is contrasted and challenged by Dick Smith peanut butter enthusiast, Simon from the Simon Food Favourites blog. “I love peanut butter on toast,” he explains. “Dick Smith’s peanut butter had more of a roasty peanut taste to my liking and looked less oily.” He then goes on to refer to the product as one of his “preferred favourite peanut butters to date”. If Tony Abbott makes peanut butter, average or amazing, it is a secret and due to this secrecy he wins no points in this department.