WORDS KATE CLIFFORD PHOTOS CHESTERTON SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY
TYPE JARREAU TERRY’S NAME INTO GOOGLE AND WHAT YOU’LL FIND IS PICTURES A SMART-LOOKING MAN UNDERNEATH NEWS HEADLINES DESCRIBING HIM AS A CRIMINAL, INVOLVED IN A VIOLENT HOME INVASION AND SENT TO JAIL. IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF JARREAU TERRY, THEN LET ME TELL YOU HOW WRONG YOU ARE.
arreau rolled into our interview at The Pocket Cafe at Moffat Beach on a skateboard, wearing boardshorts and a T-shirt, with a yin-yang dangling around his neck - not something you would expect from a would-be politician. He was cool, not corporate, and because he was on first name basis with the staff, it was clear he frequented this well-known hip spot often. I had many questions to ask Jarreau since his loss in the Fisher election last year; about his time in jail and his green energy project, which rumour has it, is set to change the world. But for all my so-called first impression expectations, I could not have predicted where our conversation would go and that I would leave feeling extremely lucky to have this man living in my neighbourhood. Jarreau grew up in Caloundra as part of a large New Zealand family. He attended Golden Beach Primary School and graduated from Caloundra High School. He makes a living as entertainer in his family band, Romeos Apprentice. He also is founder of the non-for-profit entity, Chuptu Indigenous Corporation, providing education and welfare for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders. Before turning 25, he had studied a Masters Degree in finance and a Bachelors Degree in law, had been convicted for his involvement in a violent home invasion and sent to jail for 50 days for breaking five criminal codes. But in between all of that, he also started working with his uncle to develop a product for producing renewable energy, which is set to become the cheapest form of energy in the world. You could say, Jarreau is a pretty diverse character. “I got into playing at weddings and corporate functions at a young age, which in a bizarre way is where I started coming up with the concept for my project, because I got to see all these socio-economic issues that face society every day. “That’s when I started tapping on the shoulder of my uncle, who is an engineer and boilermaker, and we formed a partnership and started looking at solutions to clean the place up a bit.” For several years Jarreau continued to work on his project in order to get the concept off the ground. With hope and ambition to further pursue
his goal in the public arena, the then 28-year-old decided to run as an independent MP in the 2012 Federal Election for Fisher. It was during this time that Jarreau’s past come back to haunt him, thrusting him into the spotlight and across newspaper headlines from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast for a crime, which at the time was committed eight years previously. Despite everything I had read about his time in jail, I could not have predicted Jarreau’s reasons for being involved in such a violent crime. “There was a major drug dealer living on the Sunshine Coast. I pursued him personally and took the matter into my own hands. But I also consulted with police officers in the crime tactics division at Kawana,” Jarreau explains. “My sole intention was to shake up this drug dealer and get him out of the community because he was selling drugs to kids at primary school and I just didn’t want to see my little cousins being fed drugs, it’s as simple as that. “I drove four guys to his house, they went inside and shook this guy up, they didn’t kill him. I said, ‘just make sure you shake him up enough that he will leave here for good’. “Even looking back now, I absolutely don’t regret it. Although, in hindsight I would have applied myself a lot differently now that I understand the system.” Despite the rocky headlines, Jarreau says the controversy didn’t shake him; it only opened his eyes to new possibilities for business in the private sector. “I have nothing to hide. I have always thought to myself that if I can put the solution forward, irrespective of my background, it doesn’t mean anything. At the time, I knew it was coming. It wasn’t like an unprecedented event because the writing was on the wall,” he says. “At the start of the campaign, I decided I wanted to run for politics so that I could eventually do a partnership with the government to implement my technology and from the outset of the manufacturing, create jobs. That was my sole intention. “I wanted to know the mechanics of these people and how they think. I needed to know their agendas and why they are the way they are to just fully flag them. But I am glad I didn’t actually win, because I couldn’t guarantee you that I would be the same person today and I kind of have all
Published on Jun 1, 2014