Bombshell as senior Labor MP backs Nats
By ALEX EASTON
LABOR'S bid to win Clarence at Saturday's election has been thrown into disarray with a Sydney Labor MP publicly backing Nationals MP Steve Cansdell.
Blacktown MP and chair of the State Government's StaySafe committee, Paul Gibson, has praised Mr Cansdell, in a letter to Grafton's Daily Examiner, as 'one of the hardest-working Members in the NSW Parliament'.
"Hard-working local MPs can deliver benefits to their electorate no matter which party they represent or which party is in Government," Mr Gibson says.
The letter's timing couldn't be worse for Clarence Labor candidate Mark Kingsley, who has been working to overturn Mr Cansdell's 5.4 per cent margin.
Mr Gibson says in the letter that Mr Cansdell lobbied him over speed limits outside schools on the Pacific Highway and that, as a result, he visited the town and convinced the Government to cut the limit to 80km/h.
Mr Kingsley yesterday said he had complained to Labor's head office about the letter.
"We are furious," he said. "My volunteers, the whole campaign team, they are all hard workers, and many local Labor Party members are all disappointed.
"It (the letter) contravenes Labor Party rules and we're waiting to see what head office is going to do about it," he said.
Mr Kingsley rejected Mr Gibson's account of how the speed limit outside the schools had been lowered, saying it was done through Labor Upper House MP Greg Donelly.
He still hoped to win on Saturday, but conceded 'this is not what we needed at the moment'.
Mr Cansdell was obviously pleased at the endorsement, but later expressed concern the letter might have got Mr Gibson in trouble with the Labor Party.
Mr Gibson did not return calls from The Northern Star.