Lit­tle pas­sion shown for fed­eral poll can­di­dates

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

A POOR turnout of only 20 peo­ple turned up to the Rain­for­est Habi­tat last Thurs­day to hear fed­eral elec­tion can­di­dates Jim Turnour and War­ren Entsch stake their claim to the seat of Le­ich­hardt.

While the only de­bat­ing on the evening was done by the res­i­dent curlews - who in­ter­rupted both can­di­dates re­peat­edly and drew the biggest laughs of the night - the small gath­er­ing of lo­cals was able to get a good im­pres­sion of the two can­di­dates and their very dif­fer­ent styles.

Flanked by Fed­eral Small Busi- ness Min­is­ter Craig Emer­son and a me­dia ad­vi­sor, Mr Turnour barely de­vi­ated from his scripted ad­dress.

Mr Entsch, by con­trast, didn’t have a script.

Mr Turnour, the cur­rent mem­ber, had first crack at the mi­cro­phone and laid out his achieve­ments since his elec­tion in 2007, and the prom­ises an­nounced since the cur­rent cam­paign launched last month.

Mr Entsch spoke in gen­er­al­i­ties, spruik­ing his favourite projects in­clud­ing the Dain­tree mono­rail and pon­toon and the Dain­tree Gate­way.

The wheels fell off, how­ever, when he fo­cussed on Port Dou­glas is­sues.

“Your water­front needs a facelift,” he told the au­di­ence, which in­cluded sev­eral long-stand­ing mem­bers of the water­front man­age­ment com­mit­tee. “You need to get to­gether and come up with a plan.”

Sev­eral au­di­ence mem­bers expressed as­ton­ish­ment that Mr Entsch had not heard about the Port Dou­glas water­front plan­ning process, now four years old.

Di­vi­sion 10 councillor Ju­lia Leu of­fered to loan her copy of the plan to the can­di­date.

Mr Entsch pleaded ig­no­rance of the plan and then asked how much fed­eral money the project needed.

“To be fair, we’re not at the stage of be­ing in a po­si­tion to ask for fed­eral as­sis­tance,” Cr Leu said.

Mr Entsch then went on to ac­cuse the lo­cal com­mu­nity of not com­mu­ni­cat­ing ef­fec­tively, and at­tacked Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil over their ten­der process for the Cairns Cul­tural Cen­tre.

Re­flect­ing on the event a few days later, Port Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Ken Dobbs sought to find pos­i­tives.

“Both ad­dresses were pos­i­tive, in dif­fer­ent ways,” he said. “It was a lot more civilised than the Cairns de­bate on the Fri­day.”

Mr Dobbs didn’t want to pick a win­ner on the night, but said the real loser was the com­mu­nity.

“We run around telling each other how pas­sion­ate we are, but I won­der,” Mr Dobbs said. “We were given an op­por­tu­nity to present our pri­or­i­ties to two peo­ple, one of which is go­ing to be our next fed­eral mem­ber of par­lia­ment, and less than two dozen peo­ple turned up.”

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