Election forum with a twist

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Election forum with a twist

IT was a serious discussion, marked by some unscripted comedy.

David Amor: the Katter Party candidate was interrupted when a drunken man burst into Mitchell House.

David Amor: the Katter Party candidate was interrupted when a drunken man burst into Mitchell House.

Eight of McMillan electorate’s candidates gathered at Mitchell House in Wonthaggi last Friday evening to talk up their credentials to voters. And while the issues of asylum seekers, global warming and coal seam gas mining were all vehemently debated, the comments of one drunken man – though unintelligible – offered a hilarious diversion.
Katter Party candidate David Amor was telling people why his party was best when the man stuck his head through the door. He had obviously seen the light on and was keen to know who was home.
“The reason why I’ve stood up, is because I believe we need to go back to the basics – to whether the Country Party was some 30 years ago. Looking after us, the individual, us the workers, us, the people who really make a difference in agriculture,” Mr Amor said.
He said everything in McMillan, particularly roads, was “falling away”. “Nothing is better,” he said.
Ironically, this was the moment at which the drunken man interjected, offering his own short political speech – a series of grunts and giggles. Just as quickly as he arrived, he was gone – plunging back into the night.
Business-like, Mr Amor ploughed on.
Roger Thorrowgood, from the Stop CSG Party, was first to speak though, telling his audience he was keen to protect his grandchildren from the detrimental effects of coal seam gas mining.
“If we come back to the CSG issue and get down to the nitty gritty, the coal seam gas industry wants to fracture the daylight out of coal seams using chemicals, which already contain things like arsenic and lead. They can’t guarantee these things won’t get into the water tables,” he said.
The Green’s Malcolm McMelvie also spoke of his opposition to CSG mining, along with other environmental issues.
“I want everyone’s children to have a safe environment in which to leave. But if we keep going with business as usual, it’s really not looking good,” he said.
“There are changes in climate that are accelerating. We’re at risk of reaching a tipping point, with runaway climate change – with the planet’s temperature rising by more than two degrees over the course of the century. If that happens it will be a disaster.”
While the Yarragon GP painted the picture of a chilling environmental doomsday scenario, DLP’s Andrew Kis-Rigo was more focused on the social pitfalls facing the electorate – including the spectre of same sex marriage.
“There’s been a drift in the wrong direction. Either it’s reversed or Australia will sink into an ever deeper crisis. There’s now a would-be ruling class that has attempted to change the values of people like you and me,” he said.
“If we allow them to have their way, we are finished. Some of that new ruling class are in control of the ALP, others among them lead the Greens. There is still a genuine Labor Party in Australia, still standing for a fair go for all, that light on the hill. That party is the DLP.”
Another young candidate, the ALP’s Anthony Naus, said he was running on a Labor ticket because he supported “social justice issues”.
Later in the evening, he was decidedly uncomfortable explaining Labor’s ‘PNG solution’ for asylum seekers.
“In the past six years Labor has enacted a lot of good policy in Australia – things like the Clean Energy package, the Gonski reforms and the NDIS. It’s all about more equality and more social justice,” he said.
Palmer United Party candidate Matthew Sherry, who was aligned with many of Mr Amor’s views, said his party was made of people with “heart, feelings and, most of all, hope.”
“Hope for our country. That’s what our country needs for the moment. And it’s something that’s been lacking for a long time. I’ve become very passionate, because I love this country,” he said.
Gary Patton, from Senator Online – a party that believes people should have more say on legislation though internet polling – said he was a father and grandfather “who is concerned about this country”.
“I can see what the two party political system is doing to our country – how it’s ripping us apart. They’re dividing and conquering,” he said.
The final candidate to speak was independent John Parker – secretary of the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council – who was keen to see McMillan become more of a marginal seat, with a view that more could be bargained for.
“Right across the board we’re about to reach peak timber in the next 10 years in Gippsland, and our agricultural system has some real challenges, especially if they try to introduce CSG mining,” he said.
“Our farmers are already suffering as it is from the depletion of our water tables. I’d like to see the water tables protected as well as looking at how we can recharge our aquifers.”
Sitting member for McMillan, Russell Broadbent was amongst a number of candidates who couldn’t attend.

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Posted by on Sep 3 2013. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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