Will Smith knew he wasn’t the rich kid on the block but thanks to his parents he never felt like he missed out on anything. It is because of his father’s inspiring work ethic that Smith has had so many opportunities and experiences at such a young age.
Unfortunately, hard work means sacrifice, and it took a little while for him to realise how much his father had sacrificed for his family. “When I was young I didn’t understand at all, I thought it was that he didn’t want to spend time with me and watch my soccer game,” he says with a sombre glance. Now only 31, Smith is happily married with three children, a pet dog, a business and a position as senior pastor at Connect Church in Caboolture. “Having that passed down, the ability to work hard,” he says, “Wow. There’s something that can be said about that.”
At 19, Smith realised just how fortunate Australians were to live in such a well-developed country after doing a three week missions trip in Africa. He noticed how grateful the Africans were for the little things in life and it gave him a new perspective and appreciation for the freedoms in his homeland.
Smith’s passion for values and change is what found him a spot on the Family First team, campaigning for the seat of Longman. During the last election he began to feel frustrated with what was happening in politics, and set out to get answers from the Family First party. He felt like they were the party with true values, but that they had not been present in issues he felt were important. “Why aren’t you guys doing more?” he asked, “Where are you?” The reply he received would then shape his life for the next four years.
“They said: ‘We’re here as in you and me, and them,’” He recalled. “‘And so if you’re saying these things then you don’t take a stand, do you really believe it?’” So he began his campaign for the seat of Longman.
Family First’s policies focus on areas such as family, housing, employment, poverty, small business and climate change. Smith says the energy and funding available to the Longman electorate should be used to help those in need: the unemployed, the homeless, and small businesses. He says that although Federal MP for Longman Wyatt Roy has done an amazing job for his age, he hasn’t had the experience of working in small businesses and seeing the struggles they face.
Unemployment rates for Moreton Bay north are at 7.2% as of March, 2016 and without support for local business, fewer jobs will be available for those seeking employment. He aims to be a loud voice in parliament and deliver change for those who live their lives in the Longman electorate. It is hard for those on an almost $200,000 salary to have an understanding of the struggles these people face daily. He wants to be the voice for those people on the lower incomes who have less opportunity and receive knock back after knock back.
In previous jobs, Smith has been involved in marketing, promoting and branding, but has chosen not to promote his candidacy heavily online. Instead he attends events such as the ANZAC Day march in Caboolture or holds his own events at Connect Church.
Having a name that is associated with a celebrity makes it hard to forget but harder to find online. Rather than shying away from the fact that people smile at his name, he uses it to his advantage. “One of my greatest strengths is in my ability to build networks and connect with people, and having a name that’s easy to remember… it really helps with that process,” he says.
His campaign manager Seith Holswich says Smith has a strong ability to form beneficial relationships through the way he networks and brings people together. Smith’s heart is in the Longman electorate. He is senior pastor of a church there, he is running for Longman there and he sees the potential in the community there. “We’ve got an amazing opportunity out here to really see things done differently,” he says.
History has made it clear that minor parties don’t hold a high position in the election, but it won’t stop Smith and Family First from getting out into the community to make a difference. “If he beats the odds and was elected to the seat of Longman, I have no doubt that he would do an outstanding job,” Mr Holswich says.