Hot topics keeping candidates on toes

Candidates answer questions and debate issues at the forum.
Candidates answer questions and debate issues at the forum.

With nine of the 11 candidates present, the night brought strong opinions and some hot tempers to the fore.

Liberal candidate Matthew Hanssen earned boos from the audience when he described asylum seekers as ‘illegal immigrants’ and went on to defend the term as his party’s belief.

‘It’s not just me that supports stopping the boats, a lot of people come up to tell me,’ he said.

‘A lot of people have come to this country; migrants have come up to me and they don’t like the situation as it is.

‘We are trying to form a queue and do not want people jumping the queue.’

Mr Hanssen and Australian Protectionist Party candidate Teresa Van Lieshout seemed to appeal least to the assembled voters.

ALP candidate Melissa Parke was a crowd favourite.

Ms Parke said, if re-elected, she would push for an independent commissioner to develop asylum seeker policy, ‘based on facts, not fiction’.

Socialist Alliance candidate Sam Wainwright described Sri Lanka as a ‘human rights catastrophe’ that the Rudd Government would return asylum seekers to.

Greens candidate Jordon Steele-John received a rousing reaction when describing his party’s climate change policy, describing WA as ‘the Saudi Arabia of sunlight.’

Australian Christian Party candidate Owen Mulder did not win support from the crowd when describing his party’s belief that the definition of marriage should not be changed.

He said while he had strong views against same sex marriage it should be put to a referendum.

Mr Mulder also said he understood the earth to be experiencing a ‘cooling trend’.

‘It’s 50 times cheaper to deal with the impacts of global warming than prevent it based on models that are proven to be wrong time and time again,’ he said.