Liberal Candidate for Longman Trevor Ruthenberg is embroiled in controversy over wrongly declaring himself a recipient of the Australian Service Medal.
Liberal Candidate for Longman Trevor Ruthenberg is embroiled in controversy over wrongly declaring himself a recipient of the Australian Service Medal.

LNP candidate ‘unfit for election’

A QUEENSLAND recipient of Australia's military medal for overseas peacekeeping service has declared the LNP's candidate for Longman Trevor Ruthenberg unfit for election after he wrongly claimed to have received the decoration.

Toowoomba's David Hartshorn, who earned the Australian Service Medal in the mid-1990s after a six-month stint in Egypt, yesterday insisted experienced military personnel would not mix up medal names.

Former staff sergeant David Hartshorn says Trevor Ruthenberg is unfit for election. Picture: Mark Calleja
Former staff sergeant David Hartshorn says Trevor Ruthenberg is unfit for election. Picture: Mark Calleja

The former staff sergeant, who was also awarded a ­national emergency medal for his efforts during the 2011 Queensland floods, said that he was offended by Mr Ruthenberg's false claim and called on him to apologise to ASM recipients.

"I don't think it's innocent because no ex-serviceman would not be aware of his own medal entitlements," he told The Courier-Mail.

"The Australian Service Medal is for serving overseas and he never served overseas."

The Courier-Mail yesterday revealed that Mr Ruthenberg's Queensland Parliament biography from his time as a state MP has stated since 2012 that he ­received the ASM.

However, Mr Ruthenberg received only the Australian Defence Medal for serving four years in the military.

Sportsbet has Susan Lamb as favourite to win Longman after Mr Ruthenberg’s gaffe. Picture: AAP/Glenn Hunt
Sportsbet has Susan Lamb as favourite to win Longman after Mr Ruthenberg’s gaffe. Picture: AAP/Glenn Hunt

The revelation has dealt a savage blow to the LNP's prospects at the July 28 ­Longman by-election after polling had showed Mr Ruthenberg in the lead over Labor's Susan Lamb.

The article prompted Sportsbet to suspend punting on the by-election and later install Ms Lamb as favourite.

Mr Ruthenberg declared "I am not a military impostor" and insisted he just mixed up the medal names.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull threw his support behind his candidate.

"Big Trev is as honest and straight as he is big, he feels bad about it, he has apologised profusely," he said.

"I have spoken to him about it (yesterday) morning and I am satisfied it is an honest mistake."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he believes it was an honest mistake on the part of Mr Ruthenberg.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he believes it was an honest mistake on the part of Mr Ruthenberg.

However, Mr Hartshorn, who received his medal from former Governor-General Bill Hayden, questioned why Mr Ruthenberg never ­noticed the error.

"If that's been there for six years I can't believe he wasn't aware of it," he said. "If the guy has not been aware that he had the incorrect medal on the website for six years, then I don't have faith in his ability to represent constituents."

Other ASM recipients also questioned Mr Ruthenberg's claims.

However, RSL Caboolture-Morayfield sub-branch president Bruce Miller, who knows Mr Ruthenberg, said he believed it was an honest mistake.

"If he was trying to pull the wool over our eyes, I'd be the first to call him out," he said.



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