Story of missed opportunity for our Labor MPs
OPINION: With our State Election debates done and dusted, I hope our readers have been able to gain some further insight into what the candidates in Ipswich and Ipswich West have to offer.
You would have noticed that not all the candidates took part in the forums, most notably the two Labor incumbents in Jennifer Howard and Jim Madden, who informed us prior to the event that they would not be taking part.
I assure you that this was not through lack of trying from our end at least.
Anyone who has been following our coverage in the lead up to the debates would know that I have called Mr Madden and Ms Howard out multiple times on this, in the hope they would have a change of heart.
Unfortunately, our gut feeling on this is that the decision for Labor to take a back seat in the debate came from higher up.
Well I am obviously no political animal, for I still cannot see what the point was of not allowing our two Labor MPs to be part of the democratic process.
In missing out on our forums, our two-term local MPs missed out on the chance to not only remind us of what they have achieved since 2015, but also to defend themselves against the criticism they copped from the other candidates on Monday night.
There are several important issues going on in Ipswich and Ipswich West that could have done with some further explanation and clarification from our members.
For Jim Madden in Ipswich West, the big one is the Mt Crosby interchange. We have gone on and one about how important this work is, and on Monday night we had candidates promising to do more to fix the delays and dangers in that area.
This has been a passion topic for Mr Madden for several years, and one that we know he has been extensively involved with, but on Monday night we heard nothing from him on it.
For Jennifer Howard, an opportunity was missed to discuss how the state will help Ipswich deal with massive population growth.
There was an opportunity to talk about how to take the CBD forward with the council over the next three years, which will be a vital period for the city's rebuilding.
One has to ask what harm could have been done by at least allowing our Labor MPs to participate.
By now, a large number of people have got to know them on a first-name basis.
While there will be a certain percentage of the population who will argue the pair of them have achieved little since 2015, neither Ms Howard or Mr Madden are strangers to the communities they represent.
This is the type of criticism they face all the time and surely, by this point, are well-schooled in how to handle.
Any seasoned politician should be, after all.
Again, a big thanks from me and the team at the Queensland Times to all the candidates who took part, and to our audience for watching and listening.