Voters have their say after candidates had theirs

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Sherri Smith-Hoyer, Dhurringile: I came with the view that I wanted to hear some lessformed answers and I was hoping that some of the questions today would actually bring some insightful answers, some genuine answers. I felt that we did hear some really good answers. I think from the major parties we hear the same diatribe, though. Interestingly, I was perhaps more in tune with what Labor was saying, and I’m surprised by that, because of their bent more towards social issues, housing, social determinants that are really important. Photo by Murray Silby

Nine of the 11 candidates for the seat of Nicholls in the federal election were given the opportunity to present their cases to constituents during a forum hosted by the Committee for Greater Shepparton and the News on Tuesday evening.

Only the Liberal Democrats’ Tim Laird and Eleonor Tabone, from the Australian Federation Party, were absent.

All others took part, including Andrea Otto (Fusion Party), Sam Birrell (The Nationals), Jeff Davy (Australian Citizens Party), Steve Brooks (Liberal Party), Rob Priestly (independent), Rikkie Tyrrell (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation), Dr Robert Peterson (United Australia Party), Ian Christoe (Greens) and Bill Lodwick (Labor Party).

The News approached some members of the audience to find out what their impressions were and whether their votes had been swayed by any candidate in particular.

Bill Morgan, Tatura: I’ve always been a conservative voter to the right of the spectrum so yes, it was interesting to see the cross-section of opinions that were presented and I suppose you hear about all the major candidates and what they stand for, and you know roughly where they position themselves, but some of the other candidates, and some of their ideas, it’s interesting to hear what they’re on about and how they’re thinking. Without saying what candidate I’ll vote for, I’ll probably vote along similar principles to what I have before, but with an independent candidate in there and seeing that three-cornered contest with the Liberal and National parties and how they try and differentiate themselves and what that might mean for the future of the electorate. I’m a swinging voter within my side of the spectrum. Photo by Murray Silby
Kerry Tuena, Kialla: It gave me a good overview of what each candidate stood for. I was pleasantly surprised in some areas and horrified in others, but it gave me a good picture of who I’m actually going to be voting for when it comes to the day. I am actually supporting the independent, Rob Priestly. That hasn’t changed, but it was still interesting to hear from each candidate, so I was pleasantly surprised by at least one of the others. So it will help me with preferences. It’s not just the independent you’re supporting, it’s who you are going to give the preferences to afterwards. Traditionally, I’m a Labor supporter; however, I know it’s very unlikely that Labor is ever going to get in in this area, but we need change. I didn’t know Rob before the start of the campaign, but just listening to him, getting to know him as a person, what’s important to me is integrity and leadership and it really concerns me every time I hear about wastage in the government. Photo by Murray Silby
Angie Ciavarella, Bunbartha: I tried to come fairly open-minded. I’m not someone who votes major parties, so they definitely didn’t change my mind. Stuck to their normal narrative party lines. I really came to assess for myself all the micro parties and the independent to see if they’re as genuine as they say they are. Unfortunately the panel night was a little blah and boring as expected. No interesting questions, to be honest. Same same and the answers were to be expected. They all stuck along very similar narratives that they’ve always stuck to. No-one really stood out. That leaves me with a quandary. Who do I vote for? I’m someone who, I like to know a person I’m voting for, and I don’t mean their party lines or their promises or their pie in the sky, their pork barrelling. I like to know as a person what you are genuinely like as a person, as a boss, a parent, a child and a person in the community, so still questions there. As John Laws’ book used to call it, it was polly-waffle as usual. Photo by Murray Silby