7pm: The open forum part of the event has ended and candidates are now breaking off to have table discussions and one-on-ones with audience members.
6.53pm: Last floor question about the current state of childcare.
Questioner curious as to what candidates think about the issue.
Lappin: Babysits his granddaughter, said families aren’t supported since many men and women who look after their children need to work too and aren’t being looked after.
Dyer: Spoke of his time on a kindergarten board, said it was an important issue.
O’Connor: “As a young single mum it was the critical thing that allowed me to support me daughter and a lack of it meant we had to live in poverty.
“The Green’s policy hasn’t been released yet.
“Childcare is a fundamental right for women because its mostly women affected, and also families.
“Its a broad area again, we have policies, check them out, but I’m very aware of how critical they are.”
McGowan: “So pleased both major parties are putting out major childcare policies.
“I’ll take whichever one of those wins and put the regional and rural overlay on it.”
6.49pm: Question on amount of funding provided to rural areas.
McGowan: “Aged health care needs more thinking.
“The models we have are mostly city based.
“The packages just work against us.”
Kerr: “In most elements of our life it does feel strongly like there’s a tyranny of distance direct (connected) to the amount of money we receive.
“Perhaps there isn’t enough of a bipartisan approach to rally behind certain issues and say something is in all of our best interests.”
Dyer: Costs the government nearly
Lappin: “Think we’re doing the best with what we’ve got with budgeted moneys.
“Looking at the end results instead of the causes, we need to look at why we don’t have enough money, why has our society gotten into this situation.”
6.47pm: Question on how to stay true to principles as an independent.
Dyer: “You don’t back down one bit and you keep going as hard as you can for what you believe in.”
6.42pm: Question from the floor, questioner asks what candidates could do about the lack of youth and adult mental health services.
O’Connor: Said she lost her job through the de-funding of a program in the sector and pointed the questioner to the Green’s policies on the wide ranging topic online.
Kerr: “We do need to invest more in regional areas in regional care.
“I think that’s where the priority should be.”
McGowan: Says inroads have been made and the timing is now.
“We do have the problem ... as we talk services are being designed,” Ms McGowan said.
Referred the questioner to the rollout of the Primary Health Network.
6.39pm: Question on homelessness.
Dyer: Said it was one of the issues he’d be tackling this election.
Mr Dyer said he would get a couple of 4x2s and a tarp and intend to put it up in Wangaratta, Wodonga or Benalla where homelessness is high for the winter.
Lappin: “Homelessness for people in one of the wealthiest country’s on earth is a sad indictment on our society.
“We have massive tax evasion at the top end of town but we have politicians pointing the finger at us.”
Green: “The gap between those who are well off and those who are vulnerable and poor is increasing.
“We need government policy at a federal, state and local government level.
“It is the result of a major failing of all our social policies.”
6.38pm: Question about Indigenous health.
All candidates in favour for doing better on the issue.
6.32pm: Question from the floor asking for candidates view on ABCC issue and industrial relations issue on employees being ripped off and being under payed.
Kerr: “The ABCC doesn’t handle criminal cases, it’s a farce of an election issue.
“It was Malcolm Turnbull’s excuse to have an election because he was scared.”
O’Connor: “The Greens do not support reinstating the ABCC or a tax on unions.
“Want to protect penalty rates particularly for vulnerable young people.”
McGowan: Says she gets regular complaints about unscrupulous underpayments locally.
Offered to talk further about setting up something locally after the forum.
Dyer: Completely against the underpayment of workers.
Lappin: Said the reintroduction of the ABCC and bashing of unions is a disgrace.
Brings up the corruption revealed by the Panama Papers.
6.31pm: Question on safe school program.
All candidates in favour of the program.
6.26pm: Question from Twitter “What about health?”
O’Connor: “Sexual and mental health have to be talked about too.
“It’s not just about hospitals and GPs.”
Kerr: “Labor’s main platform in health is to protect Medicare.”
McGowan: “Importance of access to your GP ... in many areas we don’t have bulk billing (Bright and Benalla) … we have got an enormous issue about service accessibility in rural areas.”
Says Corryong and Walwa have a good model for rural service delivery which gets caught up in bureaucracy.
Calls out Sussan Ley to help.
Dyer: “If I was elected what I’d be doing is getting as much voice and amalgamating hospitals.
“As an independent you can’t offer money out here there and everywhere.”
Lappin: Said he wanted the best health care possible to be equal and accessible.
Asked “Cathy stop hogging the microphone.”
6.25pm: O’Connor: Doesn’t think there is value for money. We need to close Manus Island and Naru now.
Kerr: Doesn’t think there is value for money. He said the real cost of people smuggling is human lives.
“While Labor supports small business tax cuts to a certain point … I don’t think the priory of the nation of Australia necessitates we have to cut spending on education and health at the behest of growth,” Kerr said.
McGowan: Asks Eric if he would cross the floor to which he said “yes”.
McGowan said Eric would then be expelled from his party.
Ms McGowan went back to answering the audience question.
She said when asked the question if someone has been identified as a refugee and gone through processing should they be assimilated into Australia, 63 per cent of Indi voters said they should be.
“We can help here … the real skill is to talk to your friends and family who sit in other seats, particularly if they’re in marginal seats to put pressure on the Liberal and Labor and National party,” Ms McGowan said.
Dyer: “I’m all against red tape, if you make the red tape a little bit easier for everybody you might not have money costs either.
“As soon as the refugee camps are out of the camps the better, especially the children, its absolutely ridiculous.”
Lappin: “Support everything said by the candidates.”
“Naru and Manus are concentration camps they’re horrible and should be shut down completely.”
“Our population has to be treated in a holistic matter.”
6.14pm: Opened to crowd questions.
Ange from Beechworth says accommodating illegal refugees outside Australia is a drain on the economy and there have been major cutbacks in education allowances and Medicare.
She asks in the candidates opinion “are taxpayers getting value for money?”
6.13pm: Ms McGowan takes back the mic to bring up local industry.
“We still have a very strong manufacturing base to our economy… its also changing… we’re also growing agricultural manufacturing,” Ms McGowan said.
6.11pm: Mr Lappin goes overtime in opening address to bring up the Panama Papers and the international deals and secrets made by big government with no transparency which is why “Australia is in a mess, and Indi is in a mess.”
6.02pm: A snappy looking Alan Lappin opens by saying he dresses so snazzily because he is respectful of his community.
Mr Lappin says he is worried for the youth of Australia.
“We’ve grown up in what has been commonly termed the age of greed,” he said.
“Indi is in a mess, according to recent news items and reports, homelessness and domestic violence, and alcohol abuse … have risen dramatically in Indi.”
Mr Lappin also said youth unemployment was also bad in the region.
“We’re growing kids with no hope for a future,” he said.
5.58pm: The man with two goats (Billy and Gordon) Ray Dyer takes the mic on a chilly winter’s night.
“I’ve gotten very disheartened with the two major parties,” Mr Dyer said.
“What happened with Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull was a disgrace.
“If people elect someone for the government ... they can’t get taken out and (have someone else) put in as the Prime minister or whatever, that’s wrong.
“My issues are grassroots.”
5.54pm: Cathy McGowan opens with her track record in her first term in Parliament.
Says she and others got within a “bee’s ear” of getting a new regulation passed that means claimants of violence against females won’t have to face their perpetrators in court.
In addition finishes on the power of an independent to get Liberals and Labor to move their policies.
5.50pm: Eric Kerr says key election issue is a majority of Australians and parliamentarians are for gay marriage but the country has been left with a carry-over from the Tony Abbott government of a plebiscite.
“I was on Youtube the other day … just listening to music when an ad comes on from the Victorian Christians advertising their conference.
“The ad tells me the future of Australia is bleak … if family’s like my own are intending to marry.
“This is just a taste of what is to come leading into the Turnbull plebiscite.”
5.40pm: In her four minute opening plea to the crowd Jenny O’Connor talks of the legacy of the in power Liberal party and the Green’s concerns about the treatment of asylum seekers.
“We are failing miserably in that area,” she said.
“We must have strong border protection from security threats… but to turn away refugees is a complete distortion of the reality of the situation.
“We’re spending billions and billions of dollars on off-shore detention camps in Naru.”
5.36pm: ABC Goulburn Murray broadcaster Gaye Pattison opens the show.
She opened with a plea to the crowd to be open-minded.
“We make up our minds within seconds, what we’re asking you to do tonight is clear you minds, don’t have any assumptions,” she said.
“Find out why they (the candidates) deserve your vote.”
Ms Pattison talks of how last election there was a concerted campaign to make the seat marginal and how Ms McGowan is facing some tough competition from some of tonight’s other attending candidates.
5.30pm: The stage is set and five candidates are on hand for tonight’s forum. Nationals candidate Marty Corboy was a late apology for a family emergency and Alan Lappin and Ray Dyer late additions alongside incumbent Cathy McGowan, the Greens’ Jenny O’Connor and Labor’s Eric Kerr.