Nationals Hold Clarence


The new Nationals’ MP for the seat of Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, is downplaying the swing to Labor at Saturday’s by-election.
The National party retained Clarence, despite a swing against it of 16 per cent.
The by-election was triggered when sitting member Steve Cansdell was forced to retire after admitting to signing a false statutory declaration.
Mr Gulaptis says he is delighted with the by-election win but is not surprised by the swing to Labor.
“Let’s face it, the last election they ran a dead campaign,” he said.
“At this election they’ve spent quite an amount of resources to try and win the election.
“It was a by-election to start off with and by-elections swing against the government and of course Steve Cansdell had a high personal following, so it was always going to be a swing.”
The ABC’s election analyst, Antony Green, says ‘on paper’ Clarence is the fifth biggest by-election swing since World War II.
ALP candidate Peter Ellem says the by-election result is a warning for the Coalition.
“Some people in the Clarence have definitely sent a message to the O’Farrell/Stoner Government that they will not be taken for granted,” he said.
“That they’re worried about public service job cuts, threats to local jobs, coal seam gas mining, the attack on police in particular over the Death and Disability scheme being downgraded.”
Premier Barry O’Farrell has laughed off the swing against the Nationals.
Mr O’Farrell says the ALP and unions are wrong to say the result is an indication of voter discontent with the Coalition.
“When this seat was won by the Nationals eight years ago it was won by 51.5 per cent,” he said.
“Chris Gulaptis extraordinarily claimed 56 per cent of primary votes.
“So look, many lessons out of this by-election campaign.
“The Government will seek to learn them but as far as Labor and the unions go, the clear message is the electorate of Clarence elected us to fix problems.
“They endorsed the tough but fair measures we’re taking.”

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