An Australian entrepreneur running for Parliament who has a long-term business relationship with Arnold Schwarzenegger is now tapping the bricklayer-turned-Mr Universe-turned Governor of California for political advice.
Jamie McIntyre is an educator and motivational speaker who runs 21st Century Education, a company that delivers financial and lifestyle training courses. He counts Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Branson among his mentors.
Schwarzenegger himself would have had access to some extraordinary political mentoring when he was running for office for the first time. He became an in-law to the most powerful political dynasty in American politics by marrying Maria Shriver, John F. Kennedy’s niece, in the 1980s. The marriage ended shortly after Schwarzenegger finished his second term in office as California governor when it emerged he had fathered a child 14 years previously with a house maid.
McIntyre is bringing Schwarzenegger out to Australia for one of his education summits next month. Other speakers include Yellow Brick Road’s Mark Bouris and boxer Danny Green.
McIntyre is running in for a seat in the House of Representatives in the regional NSW electorate of New England, currently held by Independent MP Tony Windsor, one of the crossbenchers who supports the Labor government.
New England will be one of the more colourful seats to watch in the run-up to the September 14 election, with Windsor set for a reckoning from his electorate over his decision to back the Gillard Government on confidence and supply, and National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce gaining preselection to stand against Windsor.
McIntyre, who won a landmark court case against Google by forcing it to disclose the identity of a blogger who described him as a “thieving scumbag” online, has opened an electorate office three doors down from Joyce’s office in the electorate’s regional hub of Tamworth.
He says he thought politics might have been an ambition for him “when he had more grey hair” but that “the situation in the country is so bad politically now that we have to do something”.
McIntyre is registering the 21st Century Australia Party and hopes to stand candidates for the Lower House and the Senate.
He claims to have 150 volunteers already working for the party and aims to grow that to 1000 over the next six weeks.
He’s not the only entrepreneur running for office – mining billionaire Clive Palmer has also announced his intention to run candidates in all 150 Lower House seats. Like many, Macintyre says he’s “not sure how serious Clive is”.
Before deciding to run McIntyre approached Schwarzenegger for his tips on entering politics. He spoke to Business Insider about the conversation.
Vision first, details later
McIntyre says this one was passed to Schwarzenegger from Ted Kennedy.
“When announcing policy and explaining it to journalists at first, don’t get too pulled down into too much detail. The challenge is you have to speak to the average person. If you get bogged down in detail the message will get lost. Get people on board with the concept first, and explain the detail later.”
Politicians, like actors, need to believe what they’re saying
McIntyre says he jokingly asked Schwarzenegger about the commonalities between acting and politics and it drew a more considered response than he was expecting.
Schwarzenegger told him soberly that both actors and politicians come across as manufactured when they’re bad at what they do.
(Let’s put aside for a moment the discussion of Arnie’s acting ability. His best role was as a robot.)
“Gillard or Abbott won’t say anything that their script writers haven’t approved,” McIntyre said. “As a politician you can’t be manufactured; you have to be able to say things with passion. He explained that to be a good actor, too, you have to believe what you’re saying.”
Don’t talk down to people
“You will never build a following if you talk down to people,” McIntyre says he was told.
“For me it’s second nature because I’ve been a motivational speaker for 15 years, and I’ve always been very passionate in what I’ve been talking about.
“Now that I’ve been campaigning for the last four to five weeks, for me, to be passionate isn’t difficult.”
Be a centrist – business and workers need each other
“He told me it’s best to be a centrist, which I’ve taken a lot of notice of. You don’t want to be too antagonistic to either side – you need to be more down the middle, because that is where most voters are – centre, or centre right in Australia.
“You can’t have a government, like we have at the moment, that attacks business and says that it supports workers. It’s incongruent. Business and workers need each other – both have to work together.”
This inevitably led to a conversation about policy detail. McIntyre says he’s releasing a 65-page document on regional policy next week.
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