QUESTION TIME: Queensland Community Alliance members (from left), Dave Copeman, Anne Fox, Pam Hayes, Rev. Gwen Fisher, Peter Arndt and Sherrill Paton have organised a mayoral candidate forum for this weekend.
QUESTION TIME: Queensland Community Alliance members (from left), Dave Copeman, Anne Fox, Pam Hayes, Rev. Gwen Fisher, Peter Arndt and Sherrill Paton have organised a mayoral candidate forum for this weekend. David Nielsen

Churches, unions join forces ahead of election forum

IPSWICH will get its first chance to see some serious questions levelled at mayoral candidates in a forum organised by the Queensland Community Alliance's Ipswich branch.

The Alliance, which comprises a mix of church and union groups, will focus on what it has identified as key issues of employment, training and mental health services in this Sunday's forum to be held at Ipswich City Uniting Church.

Organiser Dave Copeman said only leading candidates would be invited to the forum, with the Alliance still awaiting results of polling required to cull the list of 11 candidates back.

He said the public meeting was likely to attract about 100 people, but it would be a civil affair with a very focussed agenda.

"Access to mental health services is a big issue," Mr Copeman said.

"Employment is another thing we've identified, as well as Ipswich being a welcoming community for migrants.

"But the over-arching issue is to have a different relationship between the council and the community, where council is more willing to work with groups like ours."

Starting 11am, the meeting will begin with people sharing their concerns to the candidates on particular issues.

After about 40 minutes, candidates will then be invited to speak for three minutes each.

The event will be co-chaired by Lloyd Abbott from Together Union and Ipswich Council of Unions, Hannah Jackson of Glebe Rd Uniting Church and Anne Fox, the Tenant Advocate for Church of Christ.

Ms Fox was quick to point out that the Mayoral Assembly would not be a candidates' debate, or a rowdy meeting with gotcha questions.

"We will be disciplined civil society organisations coming together to seek to create a new relationship of two-way respect with the next Mayor of Ipswich, where they respect our commitment to fight to see our values reflected in the City Council," she said.  

The Alliance formed just over three years ago, having been inspired by the achievements of the Sydney Alliance; a similar lobby group from NSW.

The Queensland Community Alliance in Ipswich has led several local campaigns since its inception.

The Alliance's membership includes many of the state's biggest religious, union and community groups working for a stronger, fairer civil society in Queensland.   

The assembly will be held at Ipswich City Uniting Church on Sunday August 6 from 11am.  



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