Political battlelines have been drawn after a fiery candidates forum on Tuesday night but don’t stress if you missed it – we’ve got you covered.
Review the full livestream video here and pair it with our Candid(ate) Summary of the evening’s discussion.
Let's take a look at Tuesday’s event and how it all unfolded:
Introductions – Candidates given two minutes
Nationals candidate Steph Cooke opened with reference to her strong affiliation with Young and her predecessor Katrina Hodgkinson. Ms Cooke proceeded to pitch the party's "delivering" policy, making note of the $207 million spent in the region, before concluding her intent to continue with a heavy infrastructure focus.
Greens candidate Jeffrey Passlow introduced himself and spoke of his Gundagai heritage and background in pathological science. Mr Passlow then outlined his key policy areas - employment, education and health.
Independent candidate Jim Saleam declared himself the candidate condemned, making note of Deputy Premier John Barilaro's claims under parliamentary privilege. Mr Saleam then stated it was "better to vote for outsiders" and said he aimed to bring forward issues other candidates would not.
Country Labor candidate Charlie Sheahan opened with reference to his Jugiong background and farming history in the region. Mr Sheahan said he wished to see greater investments in hospitals, health, education, TAFE and see Cootamundra's police presence maintained.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Matthew Stadtmiller introduced himself as a Harden man and leapt on the offensive early, saying the Nationals "dropped the ball" and that he was here "because this government isn't delivering". Mr Stadtmiller also outlined his previous tenure as deputy mayor of Harden Shire council.
Issue #1: Stock Theft – Candidate Response Summary
Ms Cooke and Mr Passlow committed to full inquiries over “purported stock crimes” while Mr Sheahan said he would consider an Attorney General recommendation.
Mr Stadtmiller made reference to interference from animal activists, stating trespassers should be charged, while Mr Saleam recommended farmers protect their lands and stock “by force” if necessary.
Issue #2: Boosting Population, Public Transport Subsidising – Candidate Response Summary
Mr Passlow called for greater access to rail for the elderly and was echoed by Mr Sheahan. Mr Stadtmiller and Ms Cooke clashed, the former saying the region has been neglected under the Nationals with the latter pointing to a $1.6 billion growth fund “successfully” delivered to the community. Conversely, Mr Saleam rejected the ‘need’ to boost population.
Issue #3: Rising electricity costs – Candidate Response Summary
Mr Sheahan and Ms Cooke traded barbs over the privatisation of energy providers while Mr Saleam rejected privatisation in its entirety. Mr Stadtmiller outlined a party policy to invest in coal for a baseload power supply while Mr Passlow disagreed, stating natural energy generation through solar, wind and pumped hydro would reduce power prices “dramatically”.
Issue #4: Climate change – Candidate Response Summary
Ms Cooke and Mr Stadtmiller agreed over the importance of finding balance between sustainability and maintaining a productive farming industry. Mr Passlow and Mr Sheahan committed to further investment in renewable energy while Mr Saleam was an outlier, stating climate ‘fluctuation’ was the result of an enlarged human footprint driving demand for industry.
Issue #5: Indigenous & multicultural relations – Candidate Response Summary
All candidates aside from Mr Saleam expressed an eagerness to reconcile and embrace multiculturalism and indigenous culture. Mr Saleam said he “rejected” multiculturalism, labelling his an “eccentric” view.
Issue #6: Preference Deals – Candidate Response Summary
Mr Stadtmiller said he would be placing the Christian Democratic Party second, mirroring Philip Langfield’s earlier claim. Mr Passlow understands an ‘informal handshake’ with Country Labor is plausible, however, Mr Sheahan claimed there would be no preference deals “as such”. Mr Saleam and Ms Cooke claimed they would not be making preferences nor encouraging voters to do so.
Issue #7: Trusting politicians – Candidate Response
Ms Cooke called for voters to consider the Nationals’ “track record of delivery” while Mr Sheahan expressed a “firm belief” in the democratic system of candidacy. Mr Saleam stated he was a major party skeptic and alleged Coalition and Labour representatives were more likely to be corrupt than smaller party representatives. Mr Passlow said he was here because “most politicians are on the nose and can’t be trusted” while Mr Stadtmiller referenced the SFF’s rise from obscurity as “proof” the major parties were flawed.
Issue #8: Balance of Power – Candidate Response
Mr Stadtmiller claimed the Shooters have a balance of power in the Upper House. Ms Cooke denied this, stating the Shooters hold only two seats and form a small part of a number of minor party/independent seats. Mr Passlow agreed with Ms Cooke’s assessment.