Family separate from politics
THE relevance of a politician’s private life is set to be reignited following the arrest of Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin’s son in the middle of a Federal election campaign.
Former Lismore City mayor, Dr Ros Irwin, a lecturer in political science at Southern Cross University and a friend of Ms Saffin, described the arrest as any parent’s worst nightmare and said it should neither affect her ability to perform her job, or her ability to be re-elected next month.
“An elected representative is exactly that – a representative of society – and in all society there will be those of our children that will get into trouble,” she said.
“In no way should that impact on a parent’s ability to function as a politician or public figure in the same way as the rest of us.
“Our responsibility as parents is to stand by our children and love them unconditionally.
“As I’ve said before, this electorate is quite mature and I can’t imagine this will affect her re-election chances.”
Dr Irwin said Ms Saffin had already demonstrated she could perform her role as the Member for Page under such family pressures and believed she would continue to do so.
“Much like another of our excellent local representatives who continued to be an effective member of State Parliament when his son got into trouble,” she said.
“This has happened all over Australia to sitting members of parliament at the local, State and Federal levels and it has proven to have had no impact on their performance or the discharge of their public responsibilities.
“As a close friend of mine says, ‘we’re all carved from the warped wood of humanity’.
“Janelle has done an excellent job as the Member for Page. You see her out there 24/7 and she will continue to do so with great dignity.”
When asked if he thought the issue should remain outside the parameters of this campaign, Nationals candidate for Page Kevin Hogan said he had‘absolutely no comment regarding the Saffin family’.
November 28, 2007 – Luke Woollard – son of WA MP Janet Woollard, charged with two counts of causing grievous bodily harm over a boating incident.
June 29, 2008 – Daniel Raymond Purcell – son of Bulimba (Qld) MP Pat Purcell, charged with drug trafficking and possession.
11 Mar 2010 – Jeremy Aquilina – son of NSW MP John Aquilina, charged with the sexual assault.
4 July 2010 – Sara Goff – daughter of NZ Labour Party leader Phil Goff, arrested for possession of four ecstasy tablets.
July 29, 2010 – Edward Saffin – son of Labor MP Janelle Saffin, charged with robbery in the company of others, while armed with a dangerous weapon and aggravated breaking and entering.