Labor at war over candidates

COFF Harbour's ALP branch treasurer Mary Fitzroy has launched an astonishing attack on the federal party in the wake of her husband John's dumping as the candidate for Cowper last month.

With the election campaign barely a day old, Mrs Fitzroy said the branch, as well as her husband, had been completely cut out of the political loop by the Labor Party and had not been advised of the visit by the Opposition spokesman on infrastructure and water, Anthony Albanese.

And the move has left new candidate Paul Sekfy trying to hold a divided party together.

"We've been cut out of everything," a bitter Mrs Fitzroy said.

"We have not heard from anybody and we have had no thanks from anybody."

"I'm still the Treasurer, John's still the President."

Mrs Fitzroy confirmed rumours that her husband had become depressed since he was replaced as candidate, saying Mr Fitzroy had never previously suffered from depression but was now receiving counselling.

And she angrily denied that this had any connection to a car accident he had in early September.

"His shirt wasn't even rumpled in the accident," she said.

Asked yesterday what was his political party's duty of care to the emotional health of candidates, Mr Albanese said the party's responsibility was to the 20 million people who needed a change of government to maximise the potential in every target seat.

Mr Albanese said all local branches wanted to make sure they had the best candidate for the seat.

He said he wanted all ALP members to unite behind Mr Sekfy as the Labor candidate.

Coffs Harbour ALP member David Quinn said he had asked Mr Albanese to hold a meeting with branch members and 'get to the bottom of this' and he was hopeful this would happen.

Mr Quinn said too many conflicting reasons for the change of candidate had been given. The Coffs Harbour ALP branch will meet on Thursday.

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