Russell Northe, Victorian Nationals MP, to leave party over mental illness and gambling – Australia News

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August 28, 2017 12:59:53

Victorian Nationals MP Russell Northe has resigned from the party but will remain in Parliament, as he works to recover from depression and gambling issues.

Key points

  • Nationals MP Russell Northe has substantial outstanding debts
  • Mr Northe says he has been struggling and will see out the rest of his term as an independent MP
  • The Nationals Party was supporting Mr Northe for the past year and he had been on mental health leave since June

The MP for Morwell, in the Latrobe Valley, took a leave of absence on full pay in June to focus on his mental health.

Today, he said he would see out the rest of his term in Parliament as an independent MP.

He said he had made the decision to relieve himself of his broader responsibilities to the Nationals, giving him more time to serve the electorate and continue to work through his personal challenges.

Mr Northe told the ABC he had been struggling for a number of recent years without realising.

He said he did not understand the emotional toll events like the Black Saturday fires, the Morwell mine fire, and the closure of the Hazelwood power station and the Carter Holt Harvey sawmill had taken on him.

“People’s lives are thrown into turmoil and they come to you for assistance and help, and in many respects you can’t find the solution or answers for them, and whilst you try your best to help them, it does add to that emotional toll,” he said.

“To be fair, I didn’t pick up on the signs that I was suffering from some form of mental illness, or depression, and there’s a few things that have probably happened in my life, and my family’s life, in the…

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