Former Nationals candidate Matthew Fraser called protesters rallying against the Cudgen hospital site
Former Nationals candidate Matthew Fraser called protesters rallying against the Cudgen hospital site "the great unwashed”.

Councillor backs candidate despite 'great unwashed' comments

TWEED Shire Councillor and National Party member Warren Polglase has thrown his support behind pre-selection candidate Matthew Fraser despite controversial comments made during a protest against the Tweed Valley Hospital site.

Mr Fraser was slammed by members of the community as "elitist” after he referred to protesters as "the great unwashed” while they rallied against the selected Cudgen hospital site outside Tweed MP's Geoff Provest's office earlier this month.

But Councillor Warren Polglase, who has been a Nationals voter for more than 50 years, said people "shouldn't be too sensitive about these kinds of things”.

"It's just politics, the terminology that was used that day was used on the Alan Jones show on Fox on Tuesday, the unwashed, it's just a throwaway line politicians use all the time,” Cr Polglase said.

"They've got to go with the argy-bargy that takes place in this area, there are some sensitive issues on the agenda related to federal and state politics and the hospital is one of those.”

Nationals member and Tweed Shire Councillor Warren Polglase.
Nationals member and Tweed Shire Councillor Warren Polglase. Aisling Brennan

Cr Polglase said people would continue to push the boundaries as sensitive issues arose, including in local government.

"The day after we voted for the water mining in Urliup Rd, I got an e-mail saying I hope your grandchildren will die when there's no water left to drink,” he said.

"You just have to cop some of the abuse that comes your way, it's all part of the game.”

Cr Polglase said he would support Mr Fraser in his pre-selection nomination for the seat of Richmond.

Mr Fraser has twice run against Federal Labor MP Justine Elliot for the seat of Richmond and lost.

Nationals pre-selection candidate for the seat of Richmond, Matthew Fraser.
Nationals pre-selection candidate for the seat of Richmond, Matthew Fraser. John Gass /TWE

"Why wouldn't I support Matthew? I've been a National Party voter for 50 years, last time around he got very close and won the primaries and it was the Green vote that got Justine across the line,” Cr Polglase said.

"Every time he has a go he's getting closer and closer and it's going to be interesting to watch.”

Mr Fraser, who has been the subject of legal action by Mrs Elliot following controversial comments surrounding her leadership, declined to comment.

The Nationals are expected finalise their candidate selection for the seat by the end of the month.



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