THE aim of the four candidates for the seat of Gladstone was to outline their priorities and policies to an audience of about 90 at The Observer's Meet the Candidates debate at CQUniversity on Tuesday night.
But when it comes to politics, sometimes passion is all that matters.
If you take out the debate about asset leases and the port, what are you left with?
Well, four candidates absolutely passionate about where they live and the betterment of their community.
Independent candidate Craig Butler - whose campaign has been publicly endorsed by outgoing MP Liz Cunningham - was not loud but had a clear message after Premier Campbell Newman's comments about electorates that do not vote LNP.
"I do take severe offence to our community being held to blackmail by a future LNP government," he said to loud applause.
The audience didn't give the same congratulatory message to LNP candidate Michael Duggan, who stood strong on his party's plan for long-term asset leases and told the audience not to listen to the "rhetoric and garbage" about the port.
"There is a difference between a sale and a lease. You must learn and understand the distinction," he said.
Labor candidate Glenn Butcher's opening speech was met with huge applause when he advocated the need to keep the port, its jobs and its revenue.
"Labor in the past has done some crazy things with some crazy decisions, but we need to pay that debt down slowly," he said.
"If the LNP sells our assets, or lease, or privatise, they are no longer there to get that revenue."
Many in the audience declared the Greens' Craig Tomsett winner on the night.
"We get the s**t kicked out of us all the time, but we've never been in charge," he said.
"In the last 100 years there's only ever been two parties in power. If you've got an issue, it's not with the Greens," he added, as he motioned towards the ALP and LNP candidates next to him.
SMS the editor (what you were texting about on the night):
- Why should we sacrifice port when Premier doesn't have the courage to show his face?
- Should the $90 rural fire and emergency levy be put to those services?
- What is the candidates' view on box beef and live export out of the port of Gladstone?