Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis. Contributed

'Everyone' thinks they won Clarence

AS THE dust settles on the Clarence by-election it seems everyone is claiming a victory of some sort.

While the comfortable winner, Nationals candidate Chris Gulaptis, declared the win an endorsement for the O'Farrell-Stoner government, Labor candidate Peter Ellem, who pulled off a surprising 18 per cent swing in the primary vote, said his result sent a strong message to the Nationals against privatisation, cuts to health funding and police benefits, and the "rampant expansion of the coal seam gas industry".

Meanwhile, The Greens candidate, Janet Cavanaugh, claimed the party's first booth victory in Clarence - that of Nymboida - and took the credit for forcing Labor's turnaround on the coal seam gas industry and called on NSW leader John Robertson to support The Greens' moratorium bill about to go before the NSW Parliament.

Dr Ros Irwin, former lecturer in politics at Southern Cross University, said that while it "will be interesting to see who votes against the moratorium", she downplayed the impact of CSG, crediting the significant swing to other factors - the high credibility of Peter Ellem coupled with local union resistance to the O'Farrell Government's industrial policies against the backdrop the usual backlash against a sitting government.



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