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Politics in the Park proves popular

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The third "Politics in the Park" was held on Wednesday 17 June with Greens candidate, Cathy Griff, and Independent, James Holgate, both presenting their cases for election to a group of over 30 locals.

Both candidates answered a series of questions provided to them in advance. These questions are put to each of the candidates to ascertain their policies and approaches across the range of issues relevant to this district.

Ms Griff is a Bega Shire councillor with a professional background in the arts. Mr Holgate is a recruitment consultant from Queanbeyan. For most of the questions on notice, their responses mirrored one another, prompting Ms Griff to comment to Mr Holgate at one point, “you should join the Greens!”

Both candidates stressed the need for government action to mitigate climate change, with Mr Holgate saying that our action should not be confined to Australia but that, “we absolutely must be doing something internationally.” Both also said they were in favour of implementing Indigenous fire management regimes across the region.

Where they differed was on the issue of the government’s Snowy 2.0 project, with Ms Griff suggesting it was not appropriate and the millions to be spent would be better invested in other areas, while Mr Holgate, Cooma born and bred, was in favour of the project on the grounds of the increased employment in Cooma and the Snowy region.

With a background in the arts, Ms Griff is particularly concerned that there is effectively no longer a federal department for the arts, and that the arts community has been hit doubly hard with the COVID shutdown on top of government funding cuts. Mr Holgate compared funding for the arts with that available for sport, concluding by saying that “sport will look after itself,” while arts funding is essential.

It has been pleasing that the four candidates who have so far accepted Braidwood’s invitation to speak have been generous with their time and no question has been ignored.

The next Politics in the Park engagement is the Australian Federation Party’s Jason Potter, who will speak Wednesday 24 June. Shooters, Fishers and Farmers’ Matthew Stadtmiller has accepted the invitation but at the time of going to press, there is still no confirmation of a date.

Below is the list of candidates who have been invited to speak or who have already done so. While Braidwood represents only a very small proportion of this huge electorate, it is still an important region. It is relevant to note that the seat of Eden-Monaro is held by less than 0.9 per cent, or a mere 1600 votes.

Candidates who have spoken or responded to the invitation to speak:

Karen Porter, Independent (spoke 3/6)

Kristy Mc Bain, Labor (spoke 14/6)

Cathy Griff, Greens (spoke (17/6)

James Holgate, Independent (spoke 17/6)

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (awaiting speaking date confirmation)

Jason Potter, Aust Federation Party (booked in 24/6)

Joy Angel, Sustainable Aust Party (apologies from candidate, who is COVID-risk-averse following recent surgery.  Will send written responses to our questions)

No response/acknowledgement of the invitation as yet from:

Fiona Kotvojs, Liberal Party (2 requests sent)

Trevor Hicks, Nationals (1 request sent)

Riccardo Bosi, Ind (2 requests sent)

Dean McCrae, Lib Dems (2 requests sent)

Narelle Storey, Christian Dems (2 requests sent)

James Jansson, Science Party (2 requests sent)

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Politics in the Park proves popular

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