Lees back on the road to politics
NATIONAL Party stalwart Murray Lees has been welcomed back to the fold and is set to manage the campaign of federal candidate Tania Murdock after a judge set aside a possible eight-month jail term for a serious drink-driving offence.
Yesterday a repentant and relieved Mr Lees said he was happy “to have the shame of a suspended prison sentence removed” from his record.
Following a rehabilitation course at a private Gold Coast hospital Mr Lees said he had “accepted the Nationals’ invitation to be reappointed as Tania Murdock’s campaign director”.
Mrs Murdock, who also lost her driving licence last year after accumulating 26, mostly speeding-related, traffic offences said having Mr Lees back on board her campaign team was “fantastic”.
“It’s great he has dealt with the issue and he’s been strong enough to face that,” she said.
Mr Lees, 44, of Dulguigan, north of Murwillumbah, said: “I did the wrong thing by drink-driving and regret that”.
“I sought help and, after paying for a stay in a private rehab clinic and committing to ongoing counselling, I have permanently given up drinking and smoking and feel I am well on the way to conquering my demons.
“All this has led me to the conclusion that a gradual return to public life is appropriate, and I have accepted the Nationals’ invitation to be reappointed as Tania Murdock’s campaign director.”
Mr Lees said a decision in Lismore District Court on Thursday by Judge James Black to reduce the penalties for his fourth drink-driving offence in 15 years meant he would “now only have to wait four months rather than 28 before I can drive again”.
He said that was a big boost for his business and family life. “I should have sought help for my drinking problem years ago. I hope others reading this will benefit from my mistake. There is no shame and plenty to gain in going to see your GP and asking for help.”