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No licence, no problem

Friday, 13th March, 2015

By Andrew Robertson

 He’s hoping to win a seat that spans almost half of NSW but Labor’s Craig Ashby has one small problem - no driver’s licence.

At a time when Broken Hill’s state and federal-elected representatives preferred mode of transport is the plane, the 28-year-old Mr Ashby has never owned a car and doesn’t drive.

“I’ve never needed a car until now,” said the Walgett-born Wilcannia school teacher, who launched his official campaign for Barwon this week.

Mr Ashby said when he was growing up in Walgett his family didn’t own a car and when he was old enough to get his own licence, he found that he simply didn’t need one.

When he moved to Sydney to attend university and to teach, Mr Ashby said everywhere he needed to go was so close that he would just walk or take public transport.

“So I’ve always kind of worked around the city.”

But when it comes to distances everything about Barwon is vast. The re-drawn seat now covers over 350,000 square kilometres, stretching from Broken Hill to Narrabri.

The journey from Wilcannia to Mr Ashby’s hometown of Walgett alone is almost 1000km.

But the Labor candidate said his lack of a licence has not hampered his ability to campaign effectively.

“I’ve always got people in different towns.”

His sister and father, who both live in Walgett, take him around that part of the seat and a couple of Broken Hill Labor councillors drive him around this area.

But his days without a driver’s licence are numbered, according to Mr Ashby, who is now on leave so he can campaign full time before the election on March 28.

“I’m in the process of getting my licence.”

As for getting a pilot’s licence: “No way. I wouldn’t trust myself in a plane.”

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