NSW MP 'emotionally fragile' after fires
The trauma of the summer's bushfires is still very real for NSW Bega MP Andrew Constance and his electorate, with the Liberal minister urging unity in a time of "brokenness".
The state transport minister has again opened up about the mental health impacts of the devastating bushfires and the trauma communities in his southern NSW electorate are still struggling through.
Bushfires came roaring towards Mr Constance's Malua Bay property on December 31, with the MP using about 5000 litres of water trying to defend his property before fleeing to the beach - where many locals had also escaped to.
Since then, he has openly spoken about how that night changed him forever.
Mr Constance on Wednesday called out people trying to "demonise" him for talking about his mental health and for those who see it as a weakness.
"Anyone who wants to criticise me for being emotionally fragile and upset and traumatised after New Year's Eve, they are a disgrace," he told ABC News.
"I'll be saying to those people wake up to yourselves.
"We are trying to destigmatise these things."
His comments follow a tumultuous 24 hours during which he announced he would contest the federal seat of Eden-Monaro, before later pulling out of the race because The Daily Telegraph reported that Deputy Premier John Barilaro used a crude word to describe him to colleagues.
Mr Constance apologised for any confusion caused by his actions, and the politics people have had "shoved down their throats" over the past week.
"When I said politics is stuffed in this country and some of the people in it need to have a long hard look, I meant it, and we've now seen that happen," he said.
He noted the state was in survival mode and bushfire recovery had a "hell of a long way to go".
"There's too much brokenness across the community," he told ABC News.
"We've got to get communities back together again after the crisis."
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Originally published as NSW MP 'emotionally fragile' after fires