Community & Business

18 May, 2022

Candidates last plea to voters

CANDIDATES in the Kennedy electorate have been busy on the campaign trail for the past five weeks, but with only a few days to go before the poll, all say they have put in their best effort to convince voters they would be the right person to represent the region in Canberra.

By Robyn Holmes

Five of the Candidates for Kennedy at a recent Mareeba election luncheon.
Five of the Candidates for Kennedy at a recent Mareeba election luncheon.

Voters have six candidates to choose from in the 21 May election, and while most acknowledge it will be a big ask to de-throne incumbent Bob Katter who has held the seat since 1993, they say the electorate is in a mood for change.

 While Labor’s candidate Jason Brandon is buoyed by polls showing his Party is heading to a national victory, he has no doubt he is facing a tough job to beat Mr Katter. “I’m pretty cautious when it comes to polls because what people say they are going to do and what they do when they get into the polling booth can be two different things,” he said. “I think it is a big ask (to beat Katter) but I have heard from many people across the board in Kennedy that they are up for a change – many say they don’t know why people vote for him,” he said. “He hasn’t done anything to help his region – why is he so busy talking about putting guns in kids’ hands and the Port of Darwin being sold and not about services like health, education, jobs, aged care and improvements to childcare that will make it more liveable in Kennedy?” As the father of two young children, Mr Brandon said he wanted to be part of a government that had a plan to “genuinely make a difference in people’s lives”. 

LNP’s Bryce Macdonald has also travelled to the corners of the electorate during the campaign, racking up 20,000km during the campaign, and despite the national polls favouring a Labor win, he remains hopeful voters will make the right decision on the day. “I think the electorate is in a mood for change and when they go to the polls, they need to think very carefully about who is best placed to drive the economy,” he said. “The LNP is all about nation building and that means driving the economy which supports jobs and the regions. “Labor has also always been known to decrease defence spending and that is another critical area that the Coalition is very strong in. “The other thing for voters need to seriously consider is that do they want a State and Federal Labor government at the same time.” Mr Macdonald said Kennedy was in urgent need of a change in representation. “We need to bring Kennedy into the 21st century because we have been left behind in relation to roads, digital connectivity and health services and we need to reinvigorate our regional towns,” he said. 

Despite going into the election with a 13.3 per cent margin, Mr Katter is not going into Saturday’s poll expecting victory. “I have never thought I was going to win any of my campaigns. But I am running because there is a fight still to be won - people cannot afford to live and the cost of living is soaring,” he said. He said his Party would tackle the issue by advocating for a $200 a fortnight increase to the age pension, paid for with a 5 per cent charge on all imports into the country. “Families with a single income should also be allowed to income split, pro-rated down for less deserving situations, which would mean a $20,000 return at tax time for workers earning $80,000 to $90,000 a year,” Mr Katter said. 

Australia United Party’s Peter Campion said he had found the campaign to be “physically exhausting and very costly but mentally stimulating and quite revealing”. His stance on climate change and Covid regulations were focal points for his campaign which he explained at two community forums, presenting sea level figures from the Bureau of Meteorology that showed seas were 10cm lower now, and figures from the bureau of statistics that showed “that the people who would normally have died with flu, which conveniently disappeared, died with Covid instead”. “No excess deaths mean there was no ‘highly contagious and very deadly’ disease which means there was no need for the ALP and LNP to panic, to steal our rights and freedom on the orders of a foreign organisation, and to run up a trillion-dollar debt.,” Mr Campion said. “Despite those two official government documents proving the lies of politicians, public servants, and corporate spokespeople, some Queenslanders regarded me as a heretic instead of a truth-teller. I found that deeply saddening. Deeply, deeply saddening.” “Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result – ALP and LNP policies are sending us over an economic cliff and things will go from bad to worse unless we take Einstein’s suggestion and do something different.” 

The Greens candidate Jennifer Cox says she recognises that some voters would not agree with her Party’s policies but she urged them to vote for them “if you want to stop corruption and save our democracy”. “We are in unprecedented times. Not only are we trying to make the largest technological change in human modern history from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but the pandemic has revealed cracks in our society, from the under-funding of the health system to reliance on offshore supply chains, to income inequality and a lack of affordable housing,” she said. “We have seen the government fail time and again at the basics, but walk around like they have all the answers. Every single issue we have talked about could be helped if we return integrity to the Australian government.”


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