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‘Shocked’: Veterans’ letter used in Brisbane MP’s re-election push

Lieutenant Colonel George Hulse wrote a note to the LNP member in January clearly identified as a “letter of appreciation” to thank Mr Simmonds for his “untiring support for veterans’ issues”.But the First Field Squadron Group RAE Association president said he was contacted by Mr Simmonds’ team late last week to apologise for the letter, which was authorised as political material from the MP’s office without consent, being shared widely throughout the electorate.The use of personal letters from local community groups has become a contentious issue throughout the campaign and comes a day after it was revealed Mr Simmonds used a letter from a local priest as campaign material without consent.“You would never have intended that sort of material would ever be used for electioneering,” Lt Colonel Hulse told The Courier-Mail. “I was a bit shocked.“I was a bit disappointed that a letter of appreciation could have been mishandled in an electoral office.”The Coalition’s campaign team was approached for comment.The letter from the defence veteran has upset ex-military constituents in the electorate who received the letter, furious the promotion defied the separation of service and politics.“It was never meant to be politicised and never meant to be an election promotion thing,” Lt Colonel Hulse said.“It was just a letter of appreciation for what he had done for us.”The revelation comes after the Kenmore parish told The Courier-Mail a letter from Reverend Mark Franklin had been used as campaign material without consent while Member for Brisbane Trevor Evans was accused by charity The Pyjama Foundation for using an endorsement from its chief executive in election pamphlets.Lt Colonel Hulse, who is also the former president of the Toowong RSL, said he was contacted by Mr Simmonds’ electoral office late last week — soon after The Courier-Mail reported the accusation from The Pyjama Foundation.Mr Simmonds’ team allegedly told the veteran it was a mistake made by the electorate’s office.“They did come back to me straightaway and tell me that there had been, as they call it, a stuff-up in the office and that they’ve made every move they can to withdraw all that promotional material and destroy it,” Lt Colonel Hulse said.“And told me that there was never an intention on their part to use any of it.“It still doesn’t stop me being bloody disappointed, of course.”

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