'Disgraceful' act

DON Green says the Labor Party's treatment of candidate John Fitzroy has been disgraceful.

So much so that the 90-year-old ALP stalwart was holding a banner and waving a flag for Mr Fitzroy in Fitzroy Park yesterday alongside 17 other people, mainly members of the Coffs Harbour branch of the ALP.

Mr Fitzroy, who was unopposed when he was endorsed as the party's candidate for Cowper in June, was 'gazumped' as the party's preferred candidate this week by Paul Sekfy.

Mr Sekfy contested the seat in 1998, but did not nominate in June this year.

"If I was in John Fitzroy's place, I would take it as a slur on my character," Mr Green said.

ALP member Jeremy Atkinson, 21, said Mr Fitzroy's treatment was a blatant misuse of the democratic process.

He said Mr Fitzroy had worked his way through the ranks, supported workers rights and was a strong advocate for the community.

Kim Blain, who is not a member of any political party, was also supporting Mr Fitzroy. She said the stoush went against the Australian principle of a fair go and it would hurt the Labor party's chances.

"If they go with Sekfy I won't be voting for him and I'm pretty sure I won't be alone," she said.

Mr Fitzroy told his supporters and journalists yesterday since the national executive had decided to re-open nominations for a candidate for Cowper, he had decided to re-nominate and he wanted to thank the 'army' of people who had called and emailed to encourage him. He said he was a fresh candidate, he had done an enormous amount of preliminary work and at 59 he was at his peak to represent the people of Cowper.

"Politics is all about protecting ordinary people," he said.

Asked if this was a left-right stoush or about him, he said he could not comment because he didn't know, but he believed ALP leader Kevin Rudd would support him.

"All major corporations in Australia have internal problems and this is just another one of them. I just hope they make the right decision for Cowper," he said. Mr Fitzroy said he would not comment further until nominations closed on Monday.

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