Gulaptis pledge to oppose dam plan
By Alex Easton
NATIONALS Page candidate Chris Gulaptis says he would vote against the Federal Government on its proposal to dam the Clarence River if he is elected as part of a Coalition Government at the next Federal election.
In a situation similar to the 2004 election when Queensland Nationals Senate candidate Barnaby Joyce vowed to oppose the Government's planned sale of Telstra, Mr Gulaptis yesterday said he would fight the water proposal all the way to the Federal election and, if he were elected, would fight it from within the Government.
Senator Joyce's highly-publicised defiance of the Government led to a dressing-down from now-retiring Page MP Ian Causley, who threatened to have him expelled from the party, and ultimately ended in his voting for the Telstra sale after it announced it would use billions from the sale for rural and regional projects.
However, Mr Gulaptis said yesterday he would not be so easily moved.
"I take very seriously being a spokesperson for the community," he said.
"It's an issue that most of the people ? I'd suggest 95 per cent of the electorate ? wouldn't support."
On crossing the floor to vote he said: "That's generally done when there's a serious matter to be debated and it involves a matter on conscience and, for me, this would be a matter of conscience because I have given my promise to the electorate. I can't, in all conscience, go against what I have told them."