Steve Cansdell
Steve Cansdell

Race is on for election

IN THE wake of Clarence MP Steve Cansdell's shock announcement on Friday he would resign from politics after admitting to falsifying a statutory declaration in 2005, potential candidates are now scrambling to organise for the inevitable by-election.

According to the New South Wales Electoral Commission there is no fixed schedule for calling a by-election after a member of parliament resigns. It is up to the NSW Parliament's Speaker of the House to determine the date.

Although possible candidates are now weighing-up their options in preparation, one hat which has already been thrown into the ring is that of former Grafton paramedic Wade Walker, who yesterday confirmed to the Daily Examiner he would run as an independent in the by-election.

He said he wanted to run as an independent because it would allow him to best represent the Clarence electorate without having to make concessions to an overall party policy - he said areas such as health, emergency services and the Pacific Highway upgrade would be among the key areas he would campaign on.

However Mr Walker may have some stiff competition from Clarence Valley Council Mayor Richie Williamson, who ran in the March state election as an independent where he received 17% of the vote - the second highest after Mr Cansdell.

Cr Williamson yesterday told the Daily Examiner he was carefully considering his options after Mr Cansdell's announcement on Friday but confirmed he had been contacted by the National Party over the weekend regarding the future of the seat.

"We (himself and the National Party) have spoken this weekend and those discussions will be continuing into next week and probably beyond for a while after that - it's early days yet so who knows where those discussions might go," Mr Williamson said.

Mr Williamson warned they were only discussions though and said he had yet to make any decision about a possible tilt in the by-election - either as an independent or as part of a party.

He isn't the only veteran from the March election considering another bid for the seat either - Janet Cavanaugh, who ran as the Greens candidate said she would be consulting with her party and her family to see if she would again lead the ballot paper for the Greens.

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