On Tuesday 27th August, ACL held a 'Meet Your Candidate' forum (MYCF) in the electorate of Deakin in Victoria, which includes the suburbs of Burwood East, Croydon, Forest Hill, Heathmont, Mitcham & Ringwood.
The seat is held by Labor by a margin of 0.6%, making it the second most marginal seat in Australia. Over 100 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.
Seven of the twelve candidates for the seat of Deakin attended:
Ian Dobby - Candidate for the Australian Christians. He has worked in the building industry for over 30 years. He is a foster carer and spokesperson on youth issues
Yasmin De Zilwa - Candidate for the Rise Up Australia Party, and is an independent business consultant who's worked in Hollywood's music industry
Michael Sukkar - Liberal National Party candidate. A Melbourne lawyer who regularly speaks at schools about practical ways to achieve academic excellence and minimising the threats of drugs and alcohol
Steve Raskovsky - Candidate for Katter's Australian Party. He is a former Olympic Games representative in wrestling
Mike Barclay - Independent candidate; a high school teacher who's been in the profession for over 11 years
Brendan Powell - The Greens candidate. Mr Powell is a lifeguard
Mike Symon MP - Current member of parliament for the Labor Party. He has worked previously as an electrician and as an occupational health and safety representative for the Electrical Trades Union
Each candidate presented a speech to the audience which was followed by a Q & A session moderated by ACL’s Victorian Director, Dan Flynn.
The candidates spoke on a number of issues including family, homelessness, gambling, internet filters, the environment, affordable housing, education, marriage, and religious freedom.
Mike Symon MP and Michael Sukkar for the Liberal Party spoke in support of man-woman marriage and said that they would not vote for same-sex marriage should they be elected.
These candidates were also strong supporters of the continuation of the chaplaincy program.
ACL will be conducting more MYCF’s in states around the country – click here for details.