Last Thursday 29th August, ACL conducted another 'Meet Your Candidate' forum in Victoria, in the electorate of Casey. The seat includes regions such as Olinda, Croydon and Montrose. Over 140 people attended the event.
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.
Six of the nine candidates for the seat of Casey attended the evening:
Tony Smith MP - sitting member for the Liberal National Party. He is currently the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Tax Reform and the Deputy Chair of the Coalition Policy Development Committee
Cathy Farrell - candidate for the Labor Party. She is a Lecturer in Media Studies at Swinburne University's Faculty of Higher Education
Mike Brown - candidate for the Australian Christians. He has worked in sales for he last 25 years and is currently running a real estate company. He is also on the board of Teen Challenge for the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol abused individuals
Paul Barbieri - Rise Up Australia Party. He owns businesses in construction, transport, earth moving and is a home sustainability assessor
Milton Wilde - candidate for Palmer's United Party. Mr Wilde is a software development manager
Jeanette McRae - Independent candidate for Casey. Served as the Councillor for the Yarra Ranges Shire Council from 2005 to 2012 and is currently the Community Development Manager at Yarringa Community Centre
Each candidate presented a speech to the audience which was followed by a Q & A session moderated by ACL's Victorian Director Dan Flynn and ACL representative Peter Berry.
Discussions on the night revolved around issues such as homelessness, Australian manufacturing and the agricultural industry, problem gambling, marriage, asylum seekers, abortion, internet filters, and climate change.
Ms Farrell said the church and state should work together to bring about change to the problem of homelessness, and that sowing money into education will have an impact in tackling the issue.
Mr Smith, Mr Brown, Mr Barbieri and Ms McRae all agreed that the current definition of marriage as between a man and a woman should remain unchanged.
Ms Farrell says she supports redefining marriage, and Mr Wilde said Clive Palmer would allow a conscience vote on the issue, but that he would not condone same-sex marriage.
ACL will be conducting more MYCF's this week in states across the country - click here for more details.