3 July 2020

Your guide to the Eden-Monaro by-election candidates - in their own words

| Genevieve Jacobs
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The Eden-Monaro ballot paper

The ballot list of 14 candidates for Eden-Monaro. Photo: AEC.

How do you make up your mind when you walk into the voting booth? On Saturday, the voters of Eden-Monaro will be choosing a replacement for Labor’s Dr Mike Kelly in an election that the nation will be watching, and About Regional is giving you a unique opportunity to hear from each of the candidates.

Would-be politicians and journalists play a game of cat-and-mouse around election time: the prospective pollies have a deluge of press releases and media opportunities to offer, while the journalists are often more interested in what the voters think.

This by-election is a case in point. There’s been a steady stream of ideas from the major parties, all of whom have the capacity to issue vast amounts of content and promises. It’s not so easy for minor parties and independents and there is a real risk of diversity being swamped by the major party machines.

Our solution has been to ask you what you think.

Our community poll had a strong response, with well over 300 votes and dozens more comments on what matters most to voters from across the huge electorate. The clear winner among the issues we nominated was climate change with 125 votes but health, COVID-19 recovery and regional economic issues also polled strongly.

But like Shelly Davison, many respondents flagged issues around trust.

“Integrity. None of our politicians have any. It would be nice to see some one day,” she wrote, while Andrew Stainlay’s biggest issue was “trusting politicians”.

For others, the diversity of the electorate itself was the biggest problem.

“The area is too large. The Tumut Adelong region is overlooked. This region should be returned to Riverina,” according to Beverley Dwyer.

“The two major-party candidates reside in a village of 4000 ppl at the extreme southern point of the electorate. The first of the two who show a modicum of interest in the good folk west of the Great Divide will get my vote. Stable electricity supply, comparable NBN and general comms capacity experienced on the Coast would be a starter. We, too, experienced catastrophic bushfire carnage – take a look and show an interest. There are 110,000 additional voters outside your Southern Comfort Zone,” Michael Lindsay said.

So now it’s time to hear from the politicians themselves, in a format that’s as fair and equal as we can make it.

Last week About Regional wrote to all 14 Eden-Monaro candidates, provided them with a link to our poll and asked them to submit a video of no more than three minutes, pitching directly to voters in response to the nominated issues.

Smartphones mean the technology is available to pretty much everybody and we’ve heard back from the majority of candidates major, minor and independent.

We’ll run those videos throughout the rest of this week and aggregate them together so that you can see what the candidates sound and look like, as well as what they think the most important ideas are.


About Regional will cover the election on Saturday night. Our journalists across the region are asking voters what will decide the election for them, and we’ll also talk to the candidates whose preference flows are most likely to affect a close result.

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Kerrin Sheard12:28 pm 03 Jul 20

This is a great resource. Thanks Ian Campbell. How was the order for the presentations decided please?

P.S. I an still waiting for a Labour voter who is seriously concerned about climate change and believes the science that says we must keep all fossil fuels in the ground to have any chance of staying below 2 degrees (look what happens at 1.1 which is the current degree of warming), to explain to me why they vote ALP. When BDN asked candidates if they support building new coal mines in Australia, McBain said yes!! No wonder since ALP wants those fossil fuel industry donations, just like LNP. The Labour voters I talk to consider LNP to have their heads in the sand about climate science. But I have to say, I can’t see a real difference between ignoring the science, and accepting it but not acting on its findings. Same same in the result which is pathetic targets and continued coal and gas mining. Considering that we have preferential voting and a Greens vote will flow at full value to whichever major party you put higher, wouldn’t it be wise to take the opportunity to send a loud message that you want real action on climate change? Greens have been campaigning on environment for 40 years, and their policies are by far the best to deliver the needed outcomes. Gough is dead. Menzies is deader. Time to move on from rusted party allegiance to the reality before us. Nothing ages you more than sticking to outmoded beliefs and ideas.

I don’t have tv so rely on the internet to find information about the candidates, indeed, about how many of them there are. I found that quite a few were hard to see more than one or two items about, and as part of the electorate that doesn’t seem to rate highly we’re often not mentioned. If you can’t think of us, or mention our issues when you want us to vote for you, chances are you won’t think of us later. I’ve attended online information zoomie things, and read groups of candidates from various areas onlind – some candidates seem to be missing in all areas. If it seems too hard for some to get information out online in covid times, and for those of us with limited access to fast internet and communications then they’re probably not for me, so you’ve sealed your deal at the bottom of my list. Of those whose views don’t seem to clash with mine, you’re in the runnning at the top end. The numbering is sorted by who is interested in listening, thinking about what we want (not what your party thinks we want) and getting back to us. We’re real, and we will judge you on your ability to show empathy, and to go in to bat for our needs.

Jeff de Jager8:43 am 01 Jul 20

If the coalition thinks its a fair thing and is happy to smugly say there have been no cuts because indexation has been removed from the ABC’s funding, as it has been for Medicare rebates to bulk billing doctors, why haven’t they adopted the same approach for parliamentarians’ remuneration?

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