Labor MP quits after revelations in book
SYDNEY. (AAP) ? A North Coast state MP, forced to quit the Labor Party yesterday, said his comments about loving two convicted killers had been misconstrued.
Peter Breen, who switched from the Reform the Legal System to Labor in May, yesterday agreed to Premier Morris Iemma's request that he leave the government's ranks and return to the crossbench.
Mr Iemma's request came after extracts from a book by Mr Breen about the 1988 rape and drowning murder of Sydney woman Janine Balding were published in The Daily Telegraph.
Three men, Stephen Wayne 'Shorty' Jamieson, Matthew Elliott and a man who can only be identified as B because he was a juvenile at the time, are serving life sentences for the murder.
Mr Breen was quoted as saying Jamieson was not guilty of the crime and that he loved Jamieson and B.
Today he said his comments about loving the two men had been misconstrued.
"There's a big difference between compassionate love, sympathy, understanding, that kind of love, as opposed to being in love," Mr Breen told reporters.
The MP rejected a request from Mr Iemma that he apologise for the comments.
"In the circumstances, I've resigned from the Australian Labor Party and I'll be resuming my position on the crossbench as an independent," he said.
Mr Iemma told Macquarie Radio that Mr Breen's comments 'were an insult to the memory of Janine Balding and her family'.
Mr Breen has spoken out for other prisoners he believes have been wrongfully convicted, including Roseanne Catt who spent 10 years in prison for soliciting the murder of her ex-husband Barry Catt in September 1991.