INDEPENDENT candidate Tony Windsor has apologised to his old mate and war veteran Kerry Schofield after claiming “the Vietnam War does funny things to people”.
“They were an unfortunate choice of words and I apologise for that unreservedly,” Mr Windsor said yesterday.
“I’ve been a great supporter of Mr Schofield and his family for many years, and it wasn’t my intention to cause him distress or personal offence.
“We’ve never had harsh words. He was a close friend of mine since school days, and we’ve shared moments of distress in both our families for over 40 years.
“It is unfortunate when politics comes between two friends.”
Trouble started on Monday night when the ABC aired a Four Corners documentary in which Mr Schofield declared support for Mr Windsor’s rival for the federal seat of New England.
Mr Schofield, who had been friends with Mr Windsor since he was aged 13, said he’d made the switch to Mr Joyce after Mr Windsor supported former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard.
Asked about the switch in an ABC Radio interview the following days, Mr Windsor said: “I think the character that was there last night, there’s a lot of other reasons for that as well, which I won’t get into, but the Vietnam War does funny things to people and, anyway, that’s another story.”
Mr Schofield had served 10 months as an army private in Vietnam in 1970.
On Wednesday, Mr Windsor issued his apology.
“I’m a great supporter of our veterans, and it’s important to recognise their contribution to our country,” he said.
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