26 Jun Meet The Candidates
The Dungog District Chamber of Commerce “meet the candidates” evening held on Thursday, 23 June at Settlers Arms, Dungog was a great success with four candidates for the seat of Lyne attending. With the July 2 federal double dissolution election fast approaching it was clear from those attending that there is still some indecision in the local community with regard to their upcoming vote. For this reason it was great to engage directly with the local candidates in a unique and informal manner.
The only formal part of the evening was a five minute introduction in which each candidate introduced themselves and explained what we could expect if we chose them as our representative in the House of Representatives. Following the alphabet, the Labor candidate, Peter Alley was the first to speak. The only candidate dressed in a suit and tie, he reflected on his career in information technology and how he had been attracted to the Labor Party. He highlighted many of Labor’s achievements, such as Medicare, which have formed the basis of a nation which is the envy of the world.
Next to speak was independent candidate Brad Christensen with an approach that focussed strongly on local issues. Brad was raised on a dairy farm, owned a small butchery, trained apprentices and sat recently on the Greater Taree City Council. He spoke with some anger at the way in which the Council had been recently dissolved. He offered himself as a strong advocate for local issues such as roads funding and training and employment opportunities for young people. When questioned as to how he would act if he found himself in a “kingmaker” role in a hung parliament, he had no doubt that he would support the Coalition.
The current representative for the seat of Lyne, National Party member David Gillespie, gave a personal account of his journey to Federal Parliament. Having been raised in Queanbeyan, close to Canberra, he saw at close range the workings of government and felt that he had something to contribute. He reflected on the business aspects of running a medical practice and as a small scale cattle breeder, he could relate to the difficulty in earning an income from primary production.
Greens candidate, Julie Lyford was the last to speak. A former registered nurse married to a doc tor she served on Gloucester Council including some time as mayor. Recently she took a leading role in advocating community concerns in relation to coal seam gas issues in the Gloucester valley.
All four candidates stayed around for some time following their presentations providing ample opportunity to engage personally while enjoying plenty of wonderful finger food. It was another example of the Dungog community coming together to create a unique, rewarding and enjoyable experience.