By EMMA CORNFORD and AAP
STATE Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser may have been suspended from the NSW Parliament for eight days, but he has ruled out resigning.
Mr Fraser spoke to The Daily Examiner yesterday after he walked out of Parliament House, suspended by his fellow MPs for an outburst which saw him lunge at State Roads Minister Joe Tripodi and grab him by the throat.
"I regret what I did and I totally apologise for my actions," Mr Fraser said.
He attributed his outburst to his personal connection with people who have died on the Pacific Highway recently, including Grafton timber stalwart and personal friend Brinos Notaras, who died after a collision at Woolgoolga in August.
"I was at the hospital after Brinos died and when you've known a great man like that for 20 years, and you know that a dividing structure in the middle of the road may have saved his life and the lives of others, it's just the minister playing games and unfortunately I snapped," Mr Fraser said.
"I travel around a lot in this position and everywhere I go people are fed up with the state of the roads and what's been done about it."
Leader of the NSW Parliament's Lower House, Carl Scully, expressed disgust at Mr Fraser's behaviour and said it seriously reflected on the 'honour and dignity' of the house.
"It is with absolute astonish- ment that we have to deal with a situation where ... we have a member of parliament who assaulted (Mr Tripodi) because he didn't like what he heard," Mr Scully told the chamber.
"It was .. disgusting and outrageous."
But Mr Fraser said he'd had 'hundreds' of messages of support since the incident.
"I've had one email calling me a redneck, but the rest have been supportive. I think a lot of people have been touched by death on the highway.
"I hope the silver lining to this will be ... pressure on the Government to do something about the roads.
"If any other member had done what I did I'd have been calling for their suspension as well (but) I'm not going anywhere until I get these roads fixed."