Cansdell's rocky road to parliament

Steve Cansdell
Steve Cansdell

FROM suffering sexual abuse, to the boxing ring, to the frenzied debate in state parliament, Steve Cansdell has been around the block and back more than once in his 60 years.

And for that he has earned the respect of his former colleagues and many of his constituents.

When Mr Cansdell's mother died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 46, his father couldn't cope with raising him and his two siblings.

Thus began a rocky road for Mr Cansdell in which he endured rape and assault at the Fairbridge Farm School, near Orange in the state's central-west.

From there he landed his first job when he was 15 as a sign- writer in Sydney.

When he was looking for a weightlifting gym at the age of 17 to get fit, he stumbled into a boxing gym.

Four years later he turned professional and in 1969 he was crowned Australian light-heavyweight champion. He then went on to mentor Jeff 'The Hitman' Harding to a world title in the same weight division.

After his boxing career finished, Mr Cansdell went back to his trade as a signwriter and set up a business in Grafton, Cansdell Signs.

In 1993 he was elected as a councillor to the now defunct Grafton City Council, beginning his political career.

In 2003 he won the seat of Clarence for the Nationals at the state election against Labor candidate Terry Flanagan.

After eight years fighting for Clarence in opposition, Mr Cansdell was finally elected to government, winning 62.8% of the primary vote as the O'Farrell Government won the 2011 election in a landslide.

Shortly after the election win, Mr Cansdell was sworn in as the Parliamentary Secretary to Police and Emergency Services Minister Mike Gallacher.

Allegations were revealed on Thursday that he had falsified a statutory declaration in 2005 to avoid receiving demerit points from a speeding offence that would have cost him his licence.

He informed Deputy Premier and NSW National's leader Andrew Stoner on Thursday that he was standing down as parliamentary secretary for police.

After receiving legal advice yesterday morning, he advised the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of his resignation, which was accepted.

Topics:  parliament resign steve cansdell

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