Greens candidate Andrea Vickers, Christian Democratic Party candidate Sinead Dumas, Labor candidate Ron Goodman, Nationals MP for Tweed Geoff Provest and Tweed Daily News acting editor Sue Gardiner.
Greens candidate Andrea Vickers, Christian Democratic Party candidate Sinead Dumas, Labor candidate Ron Goodman, Nationals MP for Tweed Geoff Provest and Tweed Daily News acting editor Sue Gardiner. Liana Turner

Tweed candidates tackle the big issues

THE Tweed Chamber of Commerce political candidates debate generated a few niggles and heckles from the candidates and audience, but it was mostly a good-natured affair.

The debate on Tuesday morning saw sitting Tweed Nationals MP Geoff Provest pitted against the three people who want his job - Ron Goodman for Labor, Andrea Vickers for the Greens, and newly announced candidate for the Christian Democratic Party (CDP), Sinead Dumas. 

Tweed Daily News acting editor Sue Gardiner kicked off the debate by pitching questions about CSG, the Coalition's plan to privatise 49% of electricity poles and wires to the candidates and the two major parties funding pledges for Tweed Hospital.

Greens candidate Andrea Vickers, Christian Democratic Party candidate Sinead Dumas, Labor candidate Ron Goodman, Nationals MP for Tweed Geoff Provest and Tweed Daily News acting editor Sue Gardiner. The candidates tackled the big issues at the Tweed Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast on March 10. Photo: Liana Turner / Tweed Daily
Greens candidate Andrea Vickers, Christian Democratic Party candidate Sinead Dumas, Labor candidate Ron Goodman, Nationals MP for Tweed Geoff Provest and Tweed Daily News acting editor Sue Gardiner. The candidates tackled the big issues at the Tweed Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast on March 10. Photo: Liana Turner / Tweed Daily Liana Turner

The questions were then opened up to the audience. 

Some pushed the question of where each party would source the funding promised to Tweed Hospital. 

Mr Provest said the upgrade to the Tweed Hospital was "not dependent on the poles and wires sell-off".

He also questioned Labor's ability to provide the full $211 million for the facility's redevelopment as promised.

But Mr Goodman said the LNP's Hospital funding was "not credible". 

"There's not a mention of the Tweed Hospital in the state budget," he said.

Ms Dumas said the CDP's leader, Reverend Fred Nile, who currently holds the balance of power, was disputing any move to sell-off public assets in the Upper House. 

"He does not want anything in regards to the privatisation or the 49% (poles and wires) sell-off taking place unless there is a...five-year job guarantee and a public inquiry," Ms Dumas said.

Mr Vickers said the Greens were looking at raising poker machine taxes, property taxes and deferring the abolishment of some business levies to fund such infrastructure. 

"Particularly with poker machine taxes, that's a fair source of income," Ms Vickers said.

"That's an industry which really raises a lot of revenue, sometimes at the expense of an unfortunate few, and the least we can do is to see some of that money go back into the public good."

A reference to the new Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk as "Anna what's her name" by prominent National Party identity Lynn Beck saw Richmond MP Justine Elliot arc up.

Ms Elliot, seated at a neighbouring table, labelled the comment as disrespectful.

Labor candidate Ron Goodman also admonished Ms Beck before addressing her claims that Ms Palaszczuk was already in the process of breaking promises and undoing positive initiatives.

Mr Goodman was arguably the most aggressive, but Mr Provest hit back strongly at times and angrily shook his head at some of the candidates claims.