QUESTIONS were asked, answers were given — but are Indi voters any closer to deciding who to vote for after last night’s candidate forum?
Seven of the nine hopefuls for the seat of Indi faced an audience of about 150 at St Stephen’s Uniting Church in Wodonga.
Climate change and carbon tax, asylum seekers and social justice were the big questions from constituents.
Glenrowan’s Helen Senior said this was the third forum she’d attended with an open mind as to who she would vote for.
“I want to know what each candidate has to offer but at this stage I’m still none the wiser,” she said.
Kate Ashley, who works at the Revive St John’s Community Clinic in Wodonga, said the forum gave her some insight into candidates’ personalities, but she still didn’t know where her vote would go.
Uniting Church minister Joan Fisher said her dilemma was the same: “Do you vote for a candidate because of their passion, or do you vote for the party?”
Candidates first answered two pre-prepared questions about their principles and visions.
All affirmed their commitment to similar principles — fairness, opportunity, freedom, responsibility, democracy — with Mrs Mirabella adding “representing the mainstream views of the people of Indi”.
“By the very definition of democracy you can’t get your own way 100 per cent of the time, so you do have to compromise — I don’t like it, but I will,” she said.
“But the times I have disagreed with my party is when I believe it is to the detriment of Indi.”
On climate change, independent Cathy McGowan called for bipartisanship, saying Indi could “lead the way by working together as a community”.
There was a loud round of applause for Greens candidate Jenny O’Connor’s strong stance on asylum seekers, calling major parties policies “racist ... created to pander to Western Sydney”.
“It’s gobsmacking that they are stopping people from coming here who need our help.”
Ms McGowan, Labor’s Robyn Walsh and independent Jennifer Podesta agreed with her call for bipartisanship — which Mrs Mirabella was quick to interject there was, “until Rudd dismantled it in 2008”.
Ms McGowan was asked what she would do about the poor condition of the Melbourne-Sydney railway if elected, to which she responded “my understanding is it will be fixed by Christmas”.
Mrs Mirabella said she was still seeking the six-month overdue report into the delays.
But the last question was reserved for Mrs Mirabella: Was there any truth to reports the Nationals were working to oust her from her seat?
“I think that’s what you’d call a self-serving question mate,” she said wryly.
“I’m just focused on my campaign and what’s best for Indi.”