Election candidates face 40 debates across the state
AS WE steadily lock in the candidates for the electorates of Ipswich, Ipswich West and Lockyer, it is time to announce that we will be pitting hopefuls against each other in a series of virtual debates to hosted by the Queensland Times in the lead up to the October 31 Queensland Election.
The Courier-Mail will partner with Sky News and News Queensland's extensive network of regional titles, including the QT, to deliver the most comprehensive election coverage across the state - starting Tuesday with debates in Maryborough and Hervey Bay.
Debates will be held in 40 seats across the state, including the 10 marginal electorates expected to decide the election, as Queenslanders head to the polls.
Queensland Times editor Andrew Korner will be moderating forums for Ipswich and Ipswich West on Monday, October 26, while the Gatton Star's Ali Kuchel will moderate the Lockyer event on October 6.
Readers will be invited to send in their questions to put to the candidates on the night, and the Ipswich and Gatton news teams will be throwing in a few extra questions of their own.
These exclusive forums will aim to put the candidates to the test before the people of Ipswich and West Moreton go to the polls.
Our population growth presents challenges for infrastructure, while the proliferation of dumps will no doubt be a topic for further debate.
Courier Mail editor Chris Jones said it was vital for voters to be armed with the knowledge they need on their local candidates.
"This is not just about the two leaders. It is important for voters to have the chance to get to know the people who want to represent them," he said.
"Regional Queensland will play a pivotal role in this election and these debates will help inform voters of what the key issues are in their electorate and where the candidates stand on those issues."
Both major parties will have a lot on the line as they battle it out to win the first ever fixed four-year term in Queensland's history.
The election comes amid a COVID-induced recession, with issues like jobs, infrastructure and community safety expected to be at the top of the agenda across the state.
A YouGov poll conducted in June showed the LNP was leading Labor 52 per cent to 48 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.
Despite the high stakes, Labor has only committed to debates in the 10 most marginal seats - Barron River, Thuringowa, Mundingburra, Whitsunday, Keppel, Pumicestone, Aspley, South Brisbane, Redlands and Gaven - and will participate in 10 of the other 30 virtual debates.
Sky News personality and News Queensland columnist Peter Gleeson will travel to North Queensland to moderate debates in some of the most crucial seats.
"North Queensland is incredibly important because I personally believe that it will shape the outcome of the election," he said.
"I believe that in the southeast corner in many respects the status quo is likely to remain, but if there is to be a change in government it will come in seats like Mundingburra, Thuringowa, Keppel, and Whitsunday.
"Anyone who has any interest in politics - even if they don't generally take an interest in what is going on across the state - I implore them to have a look."
In conjunction with hosting the candidate forums, "Gleeso" will be providing insight and analysis for Sky News during the week.
The Maryborough debate will be live streamed on couriermail.com.au tonight from 6.30pm, with Hervey Bay at 7.30pm.
On Wednesday, debates will be live streamed from Mirani and Bundaberg, with Rockhampton on Thursday.
THIS WEEK'S DEBATES
Maryborough Tuesday 6.30pm
Hervey Bay Tuesday 7.30pm
Mirani Wednesday 6.30pm
Bundaberg Wednesday 7.30pm
Rockhampton Thursday 7.30pm
IPSWICH AND LOCKYER DEBATES
- Lockyer Oct 6, 7.30pm
- Ipswich West Oct 26, 6.30pm
- Ipswich Oct 26, 7.30pm
To ask a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org