Mor­well MP takes a break

Herald Sun - - NEWS - ALEX WHITE

A STATE Nationals MP has stepped down from elec­toral du­ties to deal with “men­tal health chal­lenges”.

Rus­sell Northe, the mem­ber for Mor­well in the La­trobe Val­ley, stood down yes­ter­day for an un­spec­i­fied period on doc­tor’s or­ders to re­cu­per­ate. He stood down from shadow Cabi­net late last year.

Col­leagues have been aware that Mr Northe has strug­gled with per­sonal prob­lems for sev­eral months, amid in­tense pres­sures. Hun­dreds of work­ers in his seat lost their jobs fol­low­ing March’s clo­sure of Hazel­wood power sta­tion.

Nationals leader Pe­ter Walsh con­firmed Mr Northe would take an un­spec­i­fied period of time off, but said he was ex­pected to re­turn.

“Af­ter med­i­cal ad­vice Rus­sell has decided to take leave in or­der to fo­cus on his health and well­be­ing,’’ Mr Walsh said.

“The length of Rus­sell’s leave will de­pend on ad­vice from his med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.

“Rus­sell has the full sup­port of his col­leagues and friends, and we are glad he recog­nised these prob­lems and is now get­ting help,’’ he said.

Nationals Up­per House Whip Melina Bath, who rep­re­sents East­ern Vic­to­ria in the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil, will help in Mor­well elec­torate mat­ters.

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