Last night ACL did its bit again for democracy, running a number of candidate forums that attracted over 200 people. Candidates spoke about why they should get your vote, shared something about themselves and then responded to questions from the very people they hope to represent in Parliament. Democracy in action!
However was democracy served quite as well in Bendigo? Jacinta Allan, the sitting ALP MP and member of Emily’s List declined the invitation to attend. Jacinta cited as her reason some concerns for her safety and that of her campaign staff; a result of some incidents over recent weeks that have been reported to the Bendigo Police. The veracity of those concerns are for the Police and others to judge, and we certainly accept them at face value.
ACL goes to great lengths to ensure that our forums are fair, even handed and safe for all candidates to attend. We firmly believe that even on issues when passions run high, every person needs to be treated with respect. How can we proclaim the dignity of life if we do not treat each other with dignity?
However there are really two options here. One is that Jacinta was genuinely concerned for her safety; the other is that it was a convenient way of avoiding discussion of some tough issues.
Either way, democracy missed out.