LIVE CHAT | Q&A with ACA candidate Phil Rourke

CLICK HERE to see last night's live chat with Greens candidate Dick Wellard.

The Border Mail's live political forums continue tonight with Australian Country Alliance candidate Phil Rourke lining up to take your questions.

Mr Rourke has stated his reason for running below and answered a pre-submitted question from our readers. 

Scroll through his response then LOG IN TO THE CHAT BELOW AT 7PM to quiz Mr Rourke on his campaign. 

Why have you decided to run for the Australian Country Alliance in the seat of Benambra?

Australian Country Alliance candidate Phil Rourke

Australian Country Alliance candidate Phil Rourke

I'm running as a candidate for the Australian Country Alliance party because I believe in them!

The only way forward for Australia is for all of us to become more politically active. Rather than just complain, join a party and get involved! This is exactly what I am doing.

Most of us feel that the major parties are letting us down nowadays and they certainly are! (I feel particularly strongly about the federal Coalition's "free trade agreement" with China)

Two years into the next drought, all irrigation dependent agriculture within the extent of the Murray Darling Basin System - like milk, rice and cotton production for example - will be on its knees and our nation's economy with it.

Think about how the cost of living is crippling your lifestyle. Skyrocketing electricity bills, gas ,water etc. Think about the wonders of privatisation of state-owned assets, brought to you by your major parties.

Think about the almost weekly revelations of corruption and inappropriate behaviour that your major parties are involved in.

I think about these things and many more constantly.

Our major parties are self-interested and self serving. They have a proven track record of caving in to the demands of the greens and some of the animal rights activist groups, always to the detriment of the broader community.

I would have preferred not to be a candidate . My job takes up so much of my time that I cannot give this election campaign the attention I would like but no one else was available, so when I was asked I accepted. I consider it my responsibility to make an argument and do what I can.

In the 2010 election, our predecessor, the Country Alliance party ,received about 6.8% of the vote in Benambra in a 5-candidate election. It is important to us that we be there for our supporters and contest this seat.

Regional and remote Australians have been considerably worse off since the Country Party disappeared. How will you ensure that we will receive our fair share from the sitting government?

Rural Australians have been considerably worse off since the decline of our proper representation in the form of the national party.

Let me put it this way..

The Labor party does what it does to serve the best interests of the Labor party and it's financial backers. The true essence of the Labor party and what it was created for, have long since been lost.

The Liberal party does what it does to serve the best interests of the Liberal party and it's financial backers. The true essence of the Liberal party and what it was created for, have long since been lost.

The National party simply does whatever the Liberal party tells it to. They stopped being the true voice of the bush a long time ago. The water act of 2007, signed by the Howard Coalition government, should be more than ample proof of that!

The Australian Country Alliance would not need to exist if the National party were doing its job.

We have a very good chance of getting some representation in this next Victorian government, both in the upper and lower houses. Perhaps a balance of power.

We will endeavour to make the government of the day do the right thing by rural Victorian communities and industries.

If they are intent upon doing the wrong thing, we will act as a very, very vocal watchdog. 

We assume that the Nationals will, as usual remain silent, especially if a Coalition government is returned.

The Australian Country Alliance considers itself to be the new version of the old Country party. We are needed and we need support from others like us, who have had a gutfull of bad government.

DO you have a question for the Benambra candidates?

Our moderated live forums will continue this week, with a different candidate from the electorate of Benambra set to step into the hot seat each night. 

The forums will last one hour from 7pm from Tuesday to Friday. Tune in on the following nights to quiz your candidate:

  • Tuesday - Dick Wellard (Greens)
  • Wednesday - Phil Rourke (Australian Country Alliance)
  • Thursday - Jennifer Podesta (Labor)
  • Friday - Bill Tilley (Liberal)

Can't wait?

Submit your question below and we'll select a handful to put forward to the candidate. Their answers will be featured in a "preview" story the morning of their individual debate. 

If yours misses out, don't stress! Just log in live on the day for a chance to have your say.