Independent Senate candidate Donald Bambrick from Byfield answering questions at a Christian forum in Gladstone, last night.
Independent Senate candidate Donald Bambrick from Byfield answering questions at a Christian forum in Gladstone, last night. Kerri-Anne Mesner

Candidates questioned in forum

CANDIDATES for the upcoming federal election were placed in the hot seat last night to answer questions from the Gladstone Christian community.

Questions fired at candidates were related to drug and alcohol policies, abortion, paid maternity leave, the Marriage Act 1961 and gay marriage, preference voting, what they believed was the most pressure issue in Australia at the moment, and burqa wearing in Australia.

“It’s not an Australian value for a woman to cover up who she is,” Family First Senate candidate Wendy Francis said.

Another question related to a concept of paying women $5000 to carry a child to term, delivery and adopting, rather than aborting the pregnancy – except for extreme medical cases.

The asylum seeker debate was also raised at the forum, with candidates asked if they would take a hard line with illegal immigration and whether they supported offshore processing. Australian Christian Lobbying (ACL) member Vicki Buchanan, who organised the Meet the Candidates forum, said the ACL wanted to see the group shown for what it is, having a moral concern and wanting social justice.

Ms Francis was joined by fellow Senate candidates Donald Bambrick (Independent) and Mark White (Independent), who were the only ones out of the 60 Senate candidates in the state who took up the offer to get their messages across at the Gladstone forum.

Family First candidate Di Hancock-Mills drove from Emerald to participate in the House of Representatives candidates for the seat of Flynn forum, joining local entities, sitting member Chris Trevor (Labor) and Liberal National Party endorsed candidate Ken O’Dowd.

Candidates were given two minutes each to talk to the crowd of about 60 people about their platforms, then faced anonymous questions which were sensored by two people.

One question to all Senate candidates was whether they would support a move to have a prayer at the start of parliament every day.

Candidates were also asked whether they supported keeping religious education in schools or if they supported calls to get rid of it in public schools.

The Flynn candidates were answering questions at The Observer deadline.



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