Fitzroy not a man to move aside easily
Fitzroy not a man to move aside easily


COWPER is in the eye of a Labor party storm as two candidates are claiming endosement.

Paul Sekfy has been anointed by Labor to contest the Federal seat of Cowper as the ALP machine moves to upgrade the campaign and dump John Fitzroy - who is refusing the stand aside.

Mr Sekfy is a Nambucca Valley businessman and former non-government organisation executive who has run for parliament four times and unsuccessfully contested Cowper in 1998.

He said yesterday while he was not yet the candidate, he had been asked to nominate by ALP state and Federal executives so clearly he was the person preselected, although other people could still nominate 'and it won't be over 'til the fat lady sings.'

Yesterday it seemed the fat lady was at least gargling, but John Fitzroy was not about to sing a duet.

A spokeswoman for Mr Fitzroy's campaign office said there would be no comment from him until after the conclusion of the national executive committee 2meeting.

Mr Fitzroy told ABC News earlier that he was elected unopposed and endorsed in June as the Labor candidate for Cowper.

He said he was called to a meeting in Sydney several days ago and asked to step aside, but at no time did he agree to the plan and he was personally confident the national executive would continue to support him.

"I'm still here, prepared to do the job and I find it fairly disturbing in a sense that the ALP would want to change ships this late in the campaign," he said.

Meanwhile Paul Sekfy said he had hit the ground running and was lucky to have the experience to be able to do that. The re-opened nominations for candidates will close on Monday.

Mr Sekfy, who did not nominate for the original pre-selection, said he had been quite surprised to be approached but was more than willing to stand.

"We want to make sure we have a serious tilt at Cowper," he said.

He said as a result of research, the Labor Party had seen Cowper as potentially a marginal seat and had decided at the State and national level that the campaign should be upgraded.

He said while the details of this were still being worked out, there would be more resources and a higher profile. "I have nothing but respect for John Fitzroy and I am not prepared to comment on other people's views," Mr Sekfy said.

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