Thomas George hits back at Rees' comments

LISMORE Nationals MP Thomas George’s fears were confirmed when he checked the dictionary definition of ‘spiv’ yesterday: the Premier had insulted his supporters.

Premier Nathan Rees on Monday derided the Nationals for becoming a party that ‘represents spivs along the coastline of NSW’.

The comment followed the release of Australian Electoral Commission figures showing donations to the Nationals in NSW fell from almost $800,000 to less than $500,000 in the year to 2007-08.

“No surprises there. They are a rump, particularly in NSW,” Mr Rees told reporters in Sydney.

“They don’t offer an alternative. They’ve shifted from being a genuine party that represents the interests of farmers and rural workers to an outfit that represents spivs along the coastline of NSW.”

Mr George said the Premier was out of touch.

“I’ve really taken strong offence to it,” he said.

“He’s not in touch with the communities along the NSW coast.

“They’re really decent people.”

Mr George has called on the Premier to apologise to his Lismore constituents and invited Mr Rees to visit the area to see the residents for himself.

According to Mr George’s dictionary, ‘spiv’ means: one, usually unemployed, who lives by one’s wits; one who shirks work or responsibility or a slacker; or, a smartly-dressed man who makes a living by underhand dealings.

Fellow National and Clarence MP Steve Cansdell said the term ‘spiv’ would be better applied to Labor politicians and he has written to the Premier demanding a formal apology.

Mr Rees’ office did not respond to The Northern Star’s questions yesterday.


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