Political baggage no bar to candidate for Shooters party
STEVE Cansdell gives the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party a real chance of building on its NSW Lower House by-election success in Orange says party heavyweight Robert Brown MLC.
The party, which has been around since 1992, is having its first statewide tilt and the party believes Mr Cansdell gives them some real lower house muscle.
"We're going to run in maybe 15 country electorates and five to six city electorates statewide," Mr Brown said.
"We have a little bit of polling that's not ours and the polling said this was a seat that was vulnerable so we decided we'd have a crack.
"As we got to know him we decided if we're going to have a go in the Clarence then this is the sort of bloke we'd campaign for and we think he has a shot."
He said their candidate had some baggage, following his 2011 resignation after admitting to falsely signing a statutory declaration to avoid a speeding fine.
"Yes, he does come with baggage that's one of the reasons why we picked him," Mr Brown said.
"He handled his indiscretion like a man - stood up, took his medicine and what it did was leave him with a bit of a feeling he'd let his constituents down. Which he had.
"So I guess that left a little bit of an unfinished business thing in his guts and he wanted to have a crack."
Mr Brown said his party thought its ideas and those expressed by Mr Cansdell were a good match.
"I think he saw that we were a political party that was big enough to support him, number one."
"Number two, our ideas are pretty much like his and fortunately unlike the Nationals, who don't seem to be able to break themselves free of the apron strings of their Liberal masters in Sydney, no-one tells us what to do."
He said not having a hand on the levers of government isn't a drawback.
"We don't need to be in government," he said.
"We are the fifth largest political party in the nation. We are actually ahead of Pauline Hanson in terms of the number of people in parliament, although that alters from week to week as people leave her party and join her party.
"It's taken us since 1992 to get here so we grow slowly, but no-one in the State or even the Commonwealth can match us for making law. That is turning bills into law and putting them through both houses.
"We have 10 pieces of legislation - and only two of those have got anything to do with shooting, by the way."
By standing an SFF candidate in Clarence, the party believes the community will be a winner, whether its candidate gets up or not.
"You watch what happens," he said. "In every seat where we have shown up - the three by-elections - the government has opened up the coffers.
"Why? Because the government is desperate to hang onto those electorates.
"So what it means for the people of Clarence is that even standing a candidate who has a chance will make government better insofar as what's delivered for the people of the Clarence."