Crusading gov’t lawmaker admits adultery in poll lead-up

By Rod McGuirk CANBERRA, Australia, AP

An Australian lawmaker renowned as a campaigner for higher moral standards has admitted to adultery in a surprise confession ahead of federal elections later this year, reports said Sunday.

Ross Cameron, a father of four, said he had told his wife of nearly 10 years, Genevieve, about the infidelity, because he was tired of “this sense of living with your own hypocrisy.”

“If my constituents want to vote for a great family man, they should probably vote for the other guy,” Cameron told The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in reference to the opposition Labor Party candidate.

Cameron, 39 — a founding member of the socially conservative Parliamentary Christian Fellowship group — holds his Sydney seat of Parramatta by just 1.2 percentage points. Despite the admission of infidelity, he has announced no plans to withdraw his name from elections expected later this year.

Prime Minister John Howard stood by Cameron who has been in parliament since the center-right government won power in 1996 and was promoted to a finance portfolio last October.

“All I can say about Ross is this; that he is an extremely hard working, dedicated member and I would say to the voters of Parramatta, ‘if you want an energetic hardworking representative, vote for Ross Cameron,’” Howard told Nine Network television Sunday.

Commentators were puzzled by the timing of the sudden admission, because Howard was expected to soon give the mandatory 33 days’ notice that elections will be held.

Cameron has not detailed his adultery.

“My wife has had some pretty good reasons to walk away and it’s frankly pretty amazing she hasn’t already,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Labor Leader Mark Latham was reluctant to comment, saying, “I don’t see it as a political issue.”

Labor must regain western Sydney seats such as Parramatta if it is to regain government after three election defeats.