Q&A;: Candidates for Blair answered questions from the public at the Ipswich Turf Club. From left are ALP member Shayne Neumann, Dale Chorley (KAP), Anthony Mackin (Rise Up Australia), Teresa Harding (LNP), Anthony Stanton (Palmer United) and Clare Rudkin (Greens).
Q&A;: Candidates for Blair answered questions from the public at the Ipswich Turf Club. From left are ALP member Shayne Neumann, Dale Chorley (KAP), Anthony Mackin (Rise Up Australia), Teresa Harding (LNP), Anthony Stanton (Palmer United) and Clare Rudkin (Greens). David Nielsen

Candidates open up after facing voters at QT forum

THE minor political parties in Blair appreciated the opportunity to have a voice at The Queensland Times and Ipswich Chamber of Commerce candidates' forum this week.

For Katter's Australian Party candidate Dale Chorley, it was only his second public speaking engagement in his life.

"Being a real estate agent I am used to one-on-ones with mum and dad and the kids. I'm great at that, but being out in front of a crowd was nerve-wracking," he said.

"I spoke from the heart and about what I really believe, rather than what people want to hear.

"You ask most politicians a question and you expect them to go around in circles and dodge and weave. Ask Bob Katter and he answers your questions directly.

"People were quite pleased to hear that I was upfront and honest.

"One guy (at the forum) said that there is a huge segment of our population about to retire and he appreciated that I am thinking about how to address that.

"There are unfortunately also 25-year-old disabled people going into aged care facilities with older people, and I addressed that too."

Mr Chorley said having his wife Theresa and two of his four daughters in the crowd was a highlight

"It was nice to look across the crowd and see my wife there smiling at me and giving me some encouragement," he said.

Palmer United Party candidate Anthony Stanton said he was delighted to answer questions put forward by QT readers and the audience.

"I think it is a really good thing because people get to hear what the minor parties' main positions are," he said.

"Particularly when the questions come from readers of the QT, they are matters that the readers are concerned about and they don't often get a forum to raise those matters with some of the lesser-known parties."

Mr Stanton was able to highlight his party's place in the political debate.

"What we are about is common sense policies for Australians and their families. That means we're not positioned with any ideology," he said.

"The Liberals are aligned with business and Labor is aligned with unions.

"We are purely here to take the best policy positions for people.

"We are releasing on Sunday our full range of policies.

"It will be a completely new approach to how governments do business in Australia.

"It will make people consider whether the major parties have been trying hard enough to help the country."

 

Blair candidates in their own words

ON GAY MARRIAGE ...

SHAYNE NEUMANN (ALP)

MY position is that love is a wonderful virtue and if we can find love in a nasty, cruel world it's a good thing.

But my position is that marriage is between a man and a woman.

It's a conscience vote in the ALP. That's the way I voted in committee and that's the way I voted in Federal Parliament.

I was proud to get rid of 84 pieces of legislation that discriminated against gay and lesbian couples in areas of employment, superannuation tax, in family, war and other types of areas.

I believe that we should cherish love, but my religious views and my polling of the electorate also showed me, when I asked people to respond, the overwhelming number of people in our electorate here in Blair were opposed to gay marriage. That's the way I voted.

If the bill comes up as it probably will, by private members bill in the next parliament, I will gauge the views of the local community.

I will find out what they have to say and I will examine my conscience. My position at the moment is unchanged. I believe historically and legally, and culturally and religiously, that marriage is between a man and a woman.

DALE CHORLEY (KAP)

I COULD not agree more. Katter's Australian Party has 21 core values and principles and No. 18 does support marriage between a man and a woman.

I'm also a Christian and I support marriage between a man and a woman. And like Shayne, if in the position to, I would be gauging the electorate, asking the electorate what their position is and how they want me to go to parliament and vote on their behalf ... because that would be my job to go to the people and ask their opinion.

That's what I would be doing, so if the electorate decides that they are for gay marriage, even though I am against it, I would go to parliament and I would vote for the people and I would support it ... because that is what I am here to do. If the people said no, I'd go to parliament and say no.  

ANTHONY MACKIN (Rise Up Australia)

I'M A Christian and I believe in Jesus as the Bible says he is. And from that perspective I joined the Rise Up Australia Party because I like their core values - of which we've got 26. One of them is defence of marriage as written in the Marriage Act as the union between a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others and entered into voluntarily for life.

So we would oppose and resist any changes to the marriage act and any same-sex unions. So if the question came up whether we support it in parliament we would say no. We do not support same sex marriage. We support marriage as written in the marriage act.

TERESA HARDING (LNP)

I HAVE been consistent on my stance on this and that has been I believe in a traditional marriage, a marriage between a man and a woman.

And within the Liberal Party room, that is how I would vote.

When the issue came up last year that is how the Coalition decided. They had a conscience vote within the party room and then voted as a strong united team, to not go ahead with same-sex marriage.

We believe in traditional marriage, and not same-sex marriage, and that is how I would vote in a party room and in parliament.

ANTHONY STANTON (PUP)

The Palmer United Party is of the belief that marriage equality is a social and moral issue and all such issues will be taken to a conscience vote because it's fundamental to our party's beliefs that no one should be forced to go against their own core principles.

Personally I am a very strong believer in the (traditional) institution of marriage. I think it's part of the fundamental fabric of a prosperous and stable modern society and has served us very well over the years.

But I do share the position of British Prime Minister David Cameron in that I have yet to be convinced, and I cannot see the logic, in excluding some people from the institution of marriage.

CLARE RUDKIN (GREENS)

IT'S a social justice issue and the Greens are against marriage discrimination. If a loving couple should be allowed to swear undying love and support, it's an issue of social stability, too.

I don't think it's right to impose personal views on people or any particular sectarian view of marriage. It is a secular issue - it's not a sectarian issue.

What about intersex people? What do we do about them? Are they allowed to get married? They don't even know what sex they are a lot of the time ... Do they have to choose the opposite sex to get married?

 

ON EDUCATION ...

SHAYNE NEUMANN

I SUPPORT better schools in Ipswich, and if you re-elect me I will fight for an extra $139 million here in state schools which will go to state schools in this community under Federal Labor's plan for better schools. If you elect Tony Abbott as your Prime Minister you will get about a third of that - if that. Because his education spokesperson calls the Gonski plan - which forms the nucleus of our plan - a Conski. We believe in better schools. I believe our schools should be cathedrals of learning ... but because the LNP state government here in Queensland will not sign up our schools across the board will lose $2.9 million. It's a shame and a disgrace and a tragedy.

TERESA HARDING

MY husband and I have three teenage children, and ... I am very passionate about my children's education. While Labor has made a mess of school funding with six different Gonski deals in place across Australia, the Coalition has provided funding certainty to all local schools and honoured all commitments over the next four years. My focus, and that of the rest of the Coalition team, is to deliver better quality education through better teaching, better teachers, more community engagement and more principal autonomy. Labor will take a different approach. They think the best people to run schools in Ipswich and the Somerset region are the bureaucrats in Canberra. I and the Coalition team learned the best thing to determine how local schools should be run is by you, the local parents and school communities.

DALE CHORLEY

Katter's Australian Party is still finalising their education policy.

I've had four children, personally, go through school with two to complete Year 12 and two teenage girls now in high school. I hear from them what's going on in the school and the problems that are happening. We've got a fair idea my wife and I - hands on experience - on what's happening in high school, and obviously we've had them through primary school too. There are a broad range of problems in schools. It's a big issue. A lot of things need addressing. I'm yet to see it in its final stage, but I'm looking forward to the opportunity to share it with the public.



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