VICTORIA Point resident Tom Baster is set to take on long-time MP Andrew Laming for the seat of Bowman in the next federal election.
“He might have a wealth of experience in politics but I’ve got a wealth of experience in life,” said the 66-year-old who left medicine three years ago.
“I’ve had 30 years of dealing with different people from all sorts of nationalities and social settings so I think I’ve got significant experience that I can apply in the political field.
“I am not polished in politics but I dare say it’s a learn-on-the-job type of thing and I am sure that I am up for the job.”
Born in Auckland, Mr Baster came to Australia about 1980, as a general practitioner.
“It was more for something to do than a desire to emigrate but we ended up staying and love the country.”
Mr Baster practised in the Northern Territory before coming to Queensland, where he mostly worked at Wishart and was principal of an eight-doctor practice.
He worked extensively in chronic pain management and was a prescriber for the methodone program towards the end of his career.
About three years ago Mr Baster and his wife Anne of 44 years moved to the Redlands from Chandler where they lived for 25 years.
Mr Baster said he had a passion for making a difference and had been talking to community groups and residents while building his profile in Bowman.
“It’s quite inspiring to get out and about,” he said.
“I said to my daughter that this is making me a better person even though it’s a bit daunting.”
Mr Baster said he had been a closet Labor Party supporter for years and the party had good policies for the everyday citizen of Bowman.
However he would take on board issues that were important to his constituency.
“It’s not about me, it’s about my community,” he said.
In discussions people had mentioned health, welfare, aged care, Medicare and the NDIS as issues that were of importance.
Mr Baster said it was purely coincidental that Labor had a former general practitioner running against Mr Laming.
However the qualities that had been important in his practice would translate to politics.
“Somebody who’s trustworthy, educated and reputable. That’s who I am,” he said. “I am big on integrity, honesty and sincerity – the general practitioner type of characteristics.”
Mr Baster enjoys kayaking, bushwalking and gardening.
Mr and Mrs Baster, who have three daughters and eight grand-children have enjoyed recent caravan holidays like seven weeks in north-west Queensland, four months in Western Australia and a Tasmanian trip.