State Matters with Steve Cansdell

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Causley bows out

Next time youre cruising along the Summerland Way or looking for someone to thank for Lismores flood levee, spare a thought for Ian Cane Cutter Causley, your Nationals MP who announced on his 66th birthday last week that he would retire undefeated at the next federal election.

Ian Causley is one of the principal reasons I got into politics, and he has been a hugely effective MP in his 23 years in parliament.

He was never a polished performer and despised spin as much as Steve Waugh, but got the job done both in terms of delivering for local residents and the related issue of increasing the Nationals vote at just about every election he contested.

Dont worry about whats in the newspapers, hed say to me. If you do the hard yards right across your electorate, the punters will always give you another go.

And do the hard yards he did. After quitting state parliament, Ian ran for Page in the March 1996 federal election at the same time Larry Anthony ran for Richmond. Both electorates were won from Labor on that occasion, but while Richmond has since gone back to the ALP, Ian Causley has now built up what used to be called a comfortable electoral margin.

He is going to be an extraordinarily tough act to follow, but there is no shortage of quality aspirants among local and regional Nationals.

Clarence Valley councillor Chris Gulaptis was the first to put up his hand and Larry Anthony is also said to be interested in a comeback, while others are considering their position.

I am not proposing to endorse any candidate. I only get one vote at preselection just like every other grassroots Nationals member in the Page electorate. Unlike other parties, head office and outsiders have no input into our candidate preselection.

Meanwhile, Cane Cutter Causley isnt done just yet. Expect plenty more fire from the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives over the next 12 months.

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