See-sawing history in electing MPs

THE seat of Clarence has a long history of conservative, independent and left representation.

Clark Irving won the seat of Clarence and Darling Downs in 1856 as an independent with 193 votes from a total of 293.

John McFarlane held the seat for 29 years from 1887, initially for the Protectionist Party, then the National Federal Party, followed by the Progressive Party and finally the Liberal Party.

More recently, Nationals MP Ian Causley held the seat for 12 years from 1984, but vacated it after defeating Federal ALP member for Page Harry Woods in the 1996 election.

Within months, Mr Woods won the State seat of Clarence in the by-election created by Mr Causley's switch to federal parliament.

He was re-elected in 1999, but was then defeated by former Grafton City councillor and Nationals candidate Steve Cansdell, who still holds the seat. Mr Cansdell is hoping today to increase his 53% share of the electorate's 48,000 voters (2007), but independent Richie Williamson, who also happens to be the Clarence Valley mayor, has other ideas.



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