Disgraced MP in candidate's adverts
A POLITICAL row has developed over the National Party's use of disgraced MP Steve Cansdell in advertisements endorsing Clarence by-election candidate Chris Gulaptis, three days out from the polls.
Despite resigning from parliament on September 16 after admitting he falsified a statutory declaration to avoid losing his driver's licence over a 2005 speeding fine, the National Party saw fit to include Mr Cansdell in Mr Gulaptis' advertising campaign.
As well as appearing in Mr Gulaptis' campaign television advertisement, a photo of Mr Gulaptis with Mr Cansdell features in a campaign leaflet delivered across the Clarence electorate.
While supporting County Labor candidate in the by-election, Peter Ellem, opposition leader John Robertson yesterday accused the National Party of not understanding the seriousness of Mr Cansdell's offence.
"The thing that I am amazed by is that it is quite a serious offence, but the National Party is treating it as something that isn't significant," he said.
"Marcus Einfeld went to jail for a similar thing but they are treating this like a joke."
Mr Robertson also questioned why Grafton police were yet to lay any charges against Mr Cansdell.
"Three days out from an election, it has been eight weeks (since this became public), and still there is nothing," he said.
"Frankly people will have a right to be sceptical if they make some sort of announcement next week."
The Nationals' State director Ben Franklin said he didn't think Mr Cansdell appearing in the advertisements would negatively affect Chris Gulaptis's campaign.
"I am extremely comfortable about Steve appearing in a television ad," he said.
"I, for one, as the state director of the party, was extremely pleased that he wanted to do a television ad to make it clear what his views were about in the by-election."