Thomas George pictured at home. The pain in his hip started in November and now he is on crutches.
Thomas George pictured at home. The pain in his hip started in November and now he is on crutches. Brenden Allen

Lismore MP to have hip operation

HE’S under instructions to try to stay off his feet, but bed rest isn’t really Lismore MP Thomas George’s thing.

An increasingly sore hip, possibly dating back to a fall in August, has the popular pollie on crutches and will have him sent to Brisbane in two weeks for surgery.

Mr George yesterday said the surgeon would drain fluid from the top of his hip.

There was no bone or cartilage damage and it was expected the operation would be a one-off.

The surgery would mean Mr George would have to take ‘two or three’ days off from his duties as a State MP – although he conceded his doctor had already told him he should be staying off his feet as much as possible.

“It (the pain) only came up in November, then it got worse and now I’m on crutches,” he said.

“The doctor told me to keep off it as much as possible,” Mr George said.

“I tried to do as much as I could do, but it was hard enough at times.”

The news that Mr George will undergo surgery for his hip comes a few months after his neighbour and Nationals colleague, Ballina MP Don Page, had heart surgery.

Mr Page’s surgery, to replace a valve in his heart, went well and he began easing his way back into work in November, before resuming full-time work just before Christmas.

“I’m back full-time now and feeling really good,” Mr Page said. “Same car, new engine.”

Mr Page had been under orders to rest for eight weeks after his surgery, but he shares Mr George’s aversion to bed rest.

“You listen to your body a bit and I felt capable of doing some ... things,” he said.

Out of action for a longer period will be the Nationals’ former Tweed Electorate Council chairman and the party’s 2007 Page election campaign manager Murray Lees, who has resigned from his positions in the party after personal problems and depression led to him being convicted of drink-driving this week.

Mr Lees was given an eight-month suspended jail sentence for blowing .085 last September in his fourth drink-driving offence.

He yesterday told The Northern Star the suspension of his jail sentence was conditional on his sorting out personal problems in his life, including depression and alcohol issues.

“As a consequence of that, my first priority was to not do anything to damage the party,” he said.

Mr Lees said he would not return to those positions until he had resolved those problems. He did not know whether he would be back to help with the party’s bid to retake Page and Richmond this year.

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