Former Clarence MP Steve Cansdell has announced his return to State politicis.
Former Clarence MP Steve Cansdell has announced his return to State politicis. supplied

SHOCK RETURN: Controversial former MP back in the saddle

CONTROVERSIAL former MP for Clarence Steve Cansdell is making a return to State politics with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.

Today at 10am Mr Cansdell, who held the seat for the Nationals from 2003 to his resignation in 2011 after he admitted forging a statutory declaration to escape a speeding fine, announced his will stand at next year's State election in March.

Cansdell campaign launch: Steve Cansdell launches his campiagn for the seat of Clarence, representing the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party

Mr Cansdell left the NSW Nationals in 2016 in protest against the party's support for the greyhounds ban and forced council amalgamations.

The SFF Upper House Member, Robert Brown, will announce Mr Cansdell's candidacy at the Grafton Hotel.

Mr Cansdell, 67, has a long history of public life in the Clarence Valley after a successful boxing and business career.

He was Australian Professional Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion in 1973-1974 and Queensland Professional Heavyweight Boxing Champion in 1978-1981.

Mr Cansdell later trained future light heavyweight world champion Jeff Harding.

He was elected as a member of the Grafton City Council in 1993 and was a strong advocate for public safety. During this time he established community night patrols of the city streets, combating anti-social behaviour.

Mr Cansdell was elected to State Parliament in 2003 on the retirement of ALP government minister Harry Woods.

He was re-elected with a big increase in his majority in 2007 and when Barry O'Farrell's Liberal National Party swept to power in March 2011 he was rewarded with the role of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Police.

But his time in the sun was shortlived.

Six months later he resigned in disgrace when he was forced to confess to falsifying a statutory declaration to avoid a speeding fine that would have cost him his licence.

Controversially, despite confessing his guilt to police, no charges were ever laid against him.

Away from politics Mr Cansdell became involved in a number of business ventures and continued a role working with disadvantaged children in the Ukraine he began on a working tour of Europe just before his resignation.

In 2007 Mr Cansdell revealed he had been subject to childhood sexual and physical abuse while at an orphanage in Sydney.

In recent weeks Mr Cansdell has raised his public profile, speaking in support of the Wave 5 Sub contractors, who have been left $7.3million out of pocket after the collapse of Queensland company Ostwald Bros.

He has also supported calls for the renaming of Coutts Crossing after indigenous people complained it was named after a mass murderer, Thomas Coutts.

Rumours of a return to public life began to circulate and they have now been confirmed with his candidacy for SFF.

The Daily Examiner will publish an extended interview Mr Cansdell about his return to public life in Friday's edition.