Last night, ACL held its final 'Meet Your Candidate' forum (MYCF) in the Queensland electorate of Oxley. The electorate covers the south western suburbs of Brisbane, as well as part of the city of Ipswich. It has the state's second highest proportion of children aged 0-4 (8.3%) and the state's highest proportion of couple households with dependent children (41.8%). Approximately 45 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. It also gives Christians the opportunity to engage with and contribute to the political process.
Five of the eight candidates for the seat of Oxley attended:
Frank Karg - candidate for the Democratic Labour Party. He has lived in Australia for the last seven years and is currently the Managing Director of Sales Systems, In Action
Andrew Nguyen - Liberal National Party candidate. He has worked as a political adviser and is a qualified solicitor
Bernie Ripoll - sitting member for the Labor Party. Previously trained as an aircraft electrician with the RAAF. Before his election in 1998, he worked as a union organiser with the State Public Services Federation
Martin Stephenson - The Greens candidate. He worked as an IT architect and is the coordinator for the Queensland Greens Built Environment Policy development team
Ricky Yue Mun Tang - candidate for Palmer's United Party. He is a financial planner and international marketer, who assists small and medium sized enterprises market their products and services to global markets
Each candidate presented a speech to the audience which was followed by a Q and A session moderated by ACL's Queensland Director Wendy Francis.
Some of the issues raised included mental health (in light of the closure of a mental health facility in the area), marriage and the Queensland Men's Shed Association
Both the Labor and LNP candidates said they would be very happy to do all they could to provide assistance in opening a Men's Shed in Springfield Lakes.
On the question of marriage, Mr Nguyen said he supports the current definition as between a man and a woman. Mr Ripoll has recently changed his mind on the issue to support redefining marriage. When asked if they would represent the views of their community, Mr Nguyen said he would, whilst Mr Ripoll is unsure as he is now convinced that the definition should be changed to include same-sex couples.
To find out more about party positions on policy issues, visit australiavotes.org.au