We've enlisted a panel of undecided locals who are putting the claims and spin each week through 'the pub test'.
In our final question, we've asked the panellists to score the candidates in the Parkes electorate.
Kaail Bohm, pharmacist and business owner
It is fantastic to see we have nine candidates contesting the Parkes electorate. Working as a politician is not a job I would be putting my hand up for. Keep in mind that the government of the day is trying to make all Australians happy which means there are compromises. We may not agree with all major issues or policies to achieve these goals, so it's about finding the party that best aligns with your vision for Australia and our region. When you go to the polls, look at each party and what they stand for, how they are going to achieve these goals, and do you agree with them. Keep in mind we are not going to agree on everything but that's what makes Australia great. We can disagree but still work together to help your neighbor, community, and our state. The local member we choose is the individual that is going to drive our local issues at a national level. If you don't know your local member, do your best to get to know them, and find out what they stand for. Do their visions for the region align with yours and most importantly, would you call them a good person?
Dawn Towney, indigenous advocate
I'm going to be straight up and honest. The only reason I vote is so I don't get a fine. The issues displayed and put on a show in the media are not a true reflection of the real issues people are experiencing daily, nor what they are concerned about. This is my opinion I do not speak for anyone else, nor advocate for any party or committee that I work or volunteer for. I feel we have no choice. No one has ever asked me how my decision-making can be implemented within policies. No one has ever asked me what I think needs to be promised and delivered to best support me in my life's journey. And I'm damn sure no one has ever asked me to contribute my two cents worth in any budget. I have never, nor will I ever be supportive of anyone that makes a career or a job out of making decisions on behalf of myself or this country. I am a proud Aboriginal woman who will always advocate for local decision-making wholeheartedly as a collective, as a holistic approach that is across the board, our youth, low-income earners, stay-at-home parents/carers, full-time carers, workers and so-called fearless leaders. How can someone sitting behind a desk in Sydney or Canberra make a decision on what's best for me if they have never actually met me? In disclosing the above, my answer is whether political or not, there is absolutely nothing, or no one could persuade me to tick a person's name because they have convinced me they know what's best for me.
Khaled Taleb, abattoir worker and migrant
Voters must choose the most effective candidate according to their ambitions and vision, and make the candidate feel responsible for the country. Jack Ayoub believes that "Australians deserve a leader who is not afraid to roll up sleeves and do the hard work needed to get things done." They are not satisfied with the Morrison government as citizens deserve much better. Jack promises he will always stand by families and farmers, protect water sources, and support the health and education system. In contrast, other candidates did not detail with a clear plan that highlights the most important projects that [help] the society. Anthony Albanese promised they will strengthen Medicare, create secure local jobs, support small businesses, education and childcare, and lower tax and cost of living. They also promised to establish a strong, transparent, and independent National Anti-Corruption Commission by the end of 2022. I noticed through social media that Ayoub [is] more involved in his region and interacted with the community. Candidates make promises but the best thing is to define goals to achieve after winning.
Lorna Brennan, educator and welfare advocate
I cannot make comments on many candidates because I have heard absolutely nothing about most of them. When I look them up on the electoral commission website they haven't even entered any information about themselves. I don't have time to read all newspapers properly so I am very ignorant. I have had several dealings with Mark Coulton, our incumbent member, and have always found him to be very considerate and interested in the issues that I have raised. He strikes me as being very hardworking and sympathetic to the needs of his electorate without getting embroiled in any other party nonsense. A very capable and dependable individual who has his heart in the right place.
Ian Wray, volunteer and social justice advocate
I am only rating Labor's Jack Ayoub and Nationals' Mark Coulton because I am not a supporter of minor parties or independents as they can hold the major parties to ransom and this [behavior] stops the major major parties from implementing their [promised] policies. Over the years, I have observed what independents and minor parties could do to our democratic system. In nearly all cases, they hold the major parties to ransom so that any major party that makes deals with them only wants to stay in power. We must call them out so that they would not want to go for another election. Once the electorate sees what they are up to, they would be gone.
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