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Candidates speak out

By Mark Beale

TOURISM and small business were by no means the only subjects discussed at the candidates’ forum hosted by Whitsundays Marketing and Development (WMDL) last week.

About 40 people gathered at Cannonvale’s Palm House for the business breakfast where each of the five candidates standing for Whitsunday in the state election were given an opportunity to speak.

First to take the microphone was Greens candidate Tony Fontes, who outlined the importance to his campaign of the Great Barrier Reef. Mr Fontes spoke eloquently and passionately on a range of issues including what it means to be Green.

“We all want a better, fairer, healthier future,” he said.

“Take a moment to look into your heart. I think you will find that there is a little bit of Green in each and every one of us.”

Next up was Australian Labor Party (ALP) candidate Bronwyn Taha, who spoke equally passionately about the “abysmal records” of Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and current Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan (LNP).

Ms Taha said the current government had failed on its election promises to the people of Queensland and she questioned why they should be trusted again.

“You’ve got to remember your commitments and be honest to the people of Queensland,” she said, further promising to open up the lines of communication once more if elected on January 31.

Kylee Stanton (Palmer United Party) also spoke out against some of the current government’s policies such as asset sales, reminding the audience that “a lease is a sale”.

“If elected, I will not be the absent MP but the thorn in the side of the southeast sector, week after week, reminding them of our existence,” she said.

Mr Costigan’s speech focused on reminding people of the job his party had done while faced with significant debt.

“This election is critically important,” he said.

“We can go back to the bad old days of lies and deceit [and] people promising the world, or we can see our state prosper and grow… the choice on January 31 ladies and gentlemen is very clear.”

Independent candidate Dan Van Blarcom was the last to take the stage, and he also reminded people to think carefully about how they would vote.

“Election promises are just that – election promises,” he said.

“We’ll see it when the money’s on the table.”

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