Steven Chaytor

Steven Chaytor

Infobox_President | name =Steven Chaytor

nationality =Australian
order =State Member for Macquarie Fields
term_start =2005
term_end =2007
predecessor =Craig Knowles
successor =Andrew McDonald
constituency =Macquarie Fields
party =Australian Labor Party|

Steven John Chaytor (born 19 February 1976) is an Australian politician. He was an Australian Labor Party member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 2005 to 2007, representing the southwest Sydney electorate of Macquarie Fields.cite web
title =Mr Steven John Chaytor (1976 - )
work =Members of Parliament
publisher =Parliament of New South Wales
url =!OpenDocument
accessdate = 2007-09-04

Chaytor was educated at St Gregory's College in Campbelltown and the University of Technology, Sydney, where he completed degrees in international studies and law. He worked as a solicitor and advisor to former Prime Minister of Australia Gough Whitlam, and first entered local politics in 1999, when he was elected to the Campbelltown City Council.

Chaytor was widely expected as a favourite to enter federal politics when Mark Latham resigned as the member for the safe seat of Werriwa in 2005. However, after a messy pre-selection battle with Campbelltown Mayor Brenton Banfield over who would run in the resulting by-election, Chaytor lost out to compromise candidate Chris Hayes. There was little challenge possible, however, when Chaytor was nominated several months later to replace Craig Knowles in a by-election for his safe state seat of Macquarie Fields. Though he was challenged by whistleblower nurse Nola Fraser, Chaytor survived a strong swing to the Liberal Party of Australia to win the seat.

Assault conviction

On Wednesday 20th December 2006 Chaytor made a statement revealing that he had been charged with assault. NSW Police allege that Chaytor assaulted his partner on December 10th. [ [ MP to appear in court on assault charges] "ABC News Online", 20 December 2006] However he claimed that he was attempting to prevent his partner from self-harm. [ [ 'Assault' MP: I tried to stop her] "The Sydney Morning Herald", 20 December 2006] The NSW Premier Morris Iemma sought to suspend Chaytor's membership of the Australian Labor Party. [ [ Iemma distances himself from Chaytor] "ABC News Online", 20 December 2006]

The case was heard on January 15 at Campbelltown Local Court. Chaytor was found guilty of assault on January 19. [ [ MP found guilty of assault] "Sydney Morning Herald", 19 January 2007] NSW Premier Morris Iemma announced shortly after that he was to be expelled from the Labor Party and a new candidate found for the coming state election.

In reference to the case Magistrate Robert Rabbidge stated "I find that the accused pushed Ms Njoo and kicked her," he said. Magistrate Rabbidge is also reported to have said that Chaytor is a man who could be violent and angry on occasion, but said the assault seemed to be out of character: "Mr Chaytor is quite clearly an outstanding citizen." [ [,23599,21084111-2,00.html Cowardly MP is out, says Iemma] "", 19 January 2007]

Iemma had a different view: "He has got no part to play in my Government. I don't want to sit in the Parliament with someone who hits a woman. It is an act of cowardice," he said.

The "Sydney Morning Herald" greeted Chaytor's conviction with the headline "Labor: the guilty party", an echo of the Liberal campaign slogan used against the scandal-plagued Labor government in Victoria in 1992. [ [ Labor: the guilty party] "Sydney Morning Herald", 19 January 2007]

Following Chaytor's expulsion from the ALP, the party selected Andrew McDonald, a local paediatrician, as its candidate for the State election on 24 March 2007. McDonald was subsequently elected with 61% of the two-party-preferred vote - a similar margin to the previous 2005 byelection.

On 30th July after a short appeal, the conviction was quashed by the local District court citing insufficient evidence that cannot be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt. Judge Linda Ashford found in favour of Steven Chaytor, accepting his contention that he had been acting in self defense and trying to stop his former partner from committing suicide. The NSW branch of the ALP ultimately decided to reinstate Mr Chaytor's ALP membership in light of the legal decision.

Chaytor did not nominate as a candidate for re-election in the 2008 local government elections for Campbelltown City Council.


External links

* [ Parliament House Website]

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