14/12/2006 - 15:46

Iraq veteran Labor's candidate for WA seat of Peel

14/12/2006 - 15:46

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An Iraq war veteran and critic is Labor's candidate for a WA state seat in a by-election triggered by a corruption scandal that forced the resignation of the sitting member.

 Iraq veteran Labor's candidate for WA seat of Peel

An Iraq war veteran and critic is Labor's candidate for a WA state seat in a by-election triggered by a corruption scandal that forced the resignation of the sitting member.

Norm Marlborough was sacked from cabinet and resigned from parliament in November after a corruption probe revealed the extent of his close ties with disgraced former premier Brian Burke.

Today, Premier Alan Carpenter announced that former Navy diver and patrol boat commander Paul Papalia was the endorsed ALP candidate for Mr Marlborough's former seat of Peel at the February 3 election.

His nomination comes one month after former SAS commander Peter Tinley announced he would seek Labor preselection for the federal seat of Stirling at the next election.

Mr Papalia acknowledged Mr Marlborough's resignation could make the contest more difficult despite Labor's 13.5 per cent margin in Peel.

"Those circumstances are very unusual and I can understand the people in Peel feeling aggrieved for what has happened," Mr Papalia told reporters.

"I acknowledge that, and I need to win their trust and I intend to do that."

The Corruption and Crime Commission investigation which resulted in his downfall revealed Mr Marlborough had agreed to appoint a woman to a board at Mr Burke's urging.

It also revealed he took instructions from Mr Burke about how to respond to questions in parliament and lied to the CCC about this.

Mr Papalia, who was sent to Iraq in 1992 and 2003, was asked if he had ever met Mr Burke and replied: "He wasn't in Iraq, no".

Mr Carpenter said Mr Papalia was an outstanding candidate at a critical moment for the state government.

"Having Paul come to the party as a candidate for Peel really provides us with the opportunity of bringing in a completely new person with a very different background to what anybody else has brought to the parliament," Mr Carpenter said.

"I believe he will be a great attribute."

Last week Opposition Leader Paul Omodei named businessman and Brand Branch divisional secretary Graeme Coleman as the Liberal candidate for the seat.

"Graeme Coleman has lived in the electorate for more than 24 years and has a strong track record contributing to the local community," he said at the time.

"The people of Peel do not want a self-interested Government which takes the very people who put them into power for granted."

The by-election will be held on February 3, 2007.

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