Leadership question burns

A crowd of more than 70 turned up to listen to the candidates speak.
A crowd of more than 70 turned up to listen to the candidates speak.

MEMBER for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey came under fire last night after he dodged the question everyone wants the answer to - what happens if LNP leader Campbell Newman does not win his seat in Ashgrove.

Mr Dempsey was asked the question near the end of the NewsMail's forum for Bundaberg state election candidates at the Civic Centre.

But the incumbent MP sidestepped the issue, instead referring to Labor's "poor record" and the trials of a hung parliament.

"You will have the same circus you have in the Federal Government at the moment," he said.

The 70-strong crowd interjected a number of times, unhappy with Mr Dempsey's response.

Moderator David Wise called for calm before moving to another question.

When the audience had settled, Mr Wise asked the question again - but Mr Dempsey still avoided answering the question.

The audience, who were silent during the early part of the evening, became much more lively when the forum was opened to questions from the floor.

Community members wanted to know about such topics as health, support for pensioners, the environment and fluoridating the town water supply.

Reducing red tape was one point on which all the candidates agreed, with each at some point pledging to reduce bureaucracy in the region.

Earlier, each candidate gave an opening address outlining their policies and giving a brief biography.

Katter's Australian Party candidate Doug Anderson suffered from nerves when he opened the speaking, using only about a minute of his four minutes allocated.

The Greens' Peter Higgins said he wanted the region to be the "alternative energy capital of Australia, not the unemployment capital".

LNP Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey spruiked the LNP's "four-pillar economy" and what it could do for the region.

Independent candidate

Peter Wyatt told the crowd he wanted to "get between the big two".

Family First candidate Trevor Versace promised to boost the police force to help reduce rising crime.

ALP candidate Cindy Hyland said she wanted to represent the region because she knew Labor could "get things done in the region".

The NewsMail will hold two forums with the candidates for the Burnett electorate in the coming fortnight.

The big issues

  • Red tape
  • Pensioners' cost of living
  • Health
  • Infrastructure in the region
  • Fluoridation of water supply

Topics:  ashgrove campbell newman lng queensland election 2012

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