Meet the candidates forum for Burnett electorate and profiles on candidates standing for the seat of Callide
LEGALISING marijuana and growing Indian hemp in the Burnett were two unexpected topics to come out of the NewsMail and Coral Coast Chamber of Commerce candidates’ forum.
As the sun set on day 14 of the State Government Election campaign, Burnett candidates gathered at Coral Cove Golf Club to address voters and answer questions.
About 40 attendees listened intently as the four candidates present – Stephen Bennett (LNP), Bryan Mustill (Labor), Richard Love (PUP) and PeterWyatt (independent) – were each given three minutes on the microphone to deliver their opening statement and credentials to the audience.
Labor candidate Bryan Mustill spoke of unemployment, noting the statistic to be 16.1%.
Greens candidate Colin Sheppard submitted his notes, but did not attend the forum. His notes were read by event chair David Wise.
Mr Sheppard’s topics included the condition of the Great Barrier Reef, climate change and a call for more wildlife corridors and alternate sources of energy such as solar.
Current member for Burnett Stephen Bennett (LNP) said there were only three choices going forward.
“Cut services further, put up taxes, or we can make the choice about leasing some assets,” he said.
Mr Bennett said leasing assets was the best option.
PUP candidate Richard Love started with three words – “Jobs, jobs and jobs” – and noted the unemployment rate to be 16.3%.
Independent candidate PeterWyatt called for solar farms in the Burnett and the growing of Indian hemp to be legalised.
When the floor was opened to questions, the topic of leasing assets was quickly raised by one Bargara voter.
Stephen Bennett (LNP) was quick to clarify the term “lease” as compared to “sale”.
“I think it’s really insulting that you can’t see the difference,” Mr Bennett said.
Another question from the floor was about legalising marijuana.
Labor candidate Bryan Mustill was nominated to respond and said legalising cannabis could get it out of the hands of drug dealers.
“I think it does help a lot of ailments that some people have,” he said.
Richard Love (PUP) said marijuana should definitely be legalised.
“We should be big boys and girls and call it what it is – it’s medicine,” he said.
Independent candidate PeterWyatt was appalled.
“No way in the word would I back drugs,” he said. The crowd clapped. Stephen Bennett (LNP) agreed.
“About legalising the recreational drug, no way,” he said, drawing more applause from the crowd.
POLITICAL DEBATE: Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett at the candidates debate.