Last night, the ACL conducted a 'Meet Your Candidate' forum (MYCF) in the electorate of Blair, a marginal Labor seat (4.2%) in Queensland which includes parts of Ipswich and the Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley regions. There were 106 people who attended, which included a number of church leaders from the electorate, as well as members of the community organisation Ipswich Awakening
The purpose of a MYCF is to give voters the opportunity to meet and question candidates in their electorate about issues of most concern to them, and to gain a greater understanding of their values and priorities so they can make an informed vote on election day. It also gives Christians the opportunity to engage with and contribute to the political process.
Candidates in attendance on the night were:Shayne Neumann MP -
the Labor candidate for Blair. He has represented the Division of Blair since 2007, and has been a consistent advocate for Christian values, particularly staying firm on the value of traditional marriage.Teresa Harding -
Blair candidate for the Liberal National Party. She has been commended for her work as a senior manager in the Department of Defence, and plays an active role in supporting local small businesses, community and sporting groups.Anthony Stanton -
Blair candidate for the Palmer United Party. He is a lawyer and business manager who's also spent 15 years working for both the Australian army and navy. Mr Stanton is currently working as an in-house lawyer for a construction company.Dale Chorley -
Blair candidate for Katter's Australian Party. He has been a real estate agent for more than 20 years, and is passionate about protecting landowners' property rights.
Each candidate presented a speech to the audience, which was followed by a Q & A session moderated by ACL's Queensland Director Wendy Francis.
Some of the major issues discussed on the night included:
- the Ipswich motorway
- the carbon tax
- financial pressures on families
The issue of marriage was also talked about; Mr Neumann, Ms Harding and Mr Chorley all confirmed their support for traditional marriage as between a man and a woman, and Mr Stanton said he would listen to the views of people in the electorate on the issue.
Areas in this electorate were affected dramatically by floods earlier this year, placing a huge burden on families and businesses. As a result, many voters in this region have become concerned about how the government will assist families and businesses during the recovery period.
The ACL will be conducting more MYCF in states around the country. To find out more information about these and other events in the lead up to the election, visit ACL's federal election website australiavotes.org.au.