Gregory candidate alleges ‘stalling tactics’
EMOTION is something often stifled in politics, but on the eve of the State Election Katter's Australian Party Gregory candidate Ross Stockham has injected some raw feeling to an otherwise benign campaign.
An agitated Mr Stockham expressed his concerns for the future of the region under an LNP government, after an ABC Western Queensland candidates' debate in Barcaldine was postponed from last Friday to today because of a conflict with LNP candidate Lachlan Millar's schedule.
"I think it was a deliberate ploy from Lachlan Millar - he hasn't come out with any of his own policies," he said.
"This is going to be the only unscripted piece of information you'll get from him."
Mr Stockham accused Mr Millar of trying to push the debate back to as close to the election as possible to avoid scrutiny.
"It actually hinders anyone looking to make an election decision, because they've got less time to make a decision," he said.
"I think he wants to be a career politician.
"If he was serious about representing Gregory, he would've made it.
"I've spoken to all the candidates bar the Greens candidate... they were a bit disgusted."
This statement was backed up by Independent candidate Bruce Currie.
But Mr Millar's campaign manager Sean Dillon said Mr Stockham's claims were misleading.
"We never indicated it would not be possible for us to attend… we were flexible," Mr Dillon said.
"No one other than (ABC Western Queensland regional content manager) Nicole Bond is responsible for setting the schedule - we had no influence over that.
"We asked would it be possible to reschedule… she immediately then issued another email to all candidates.
"She asked what scheduling conflict would there be."
Mr Dillon said he assumed no candidate had replied saying there would be a significant conflict, or the ABC would not have rescheduled the debate to today.
"The ABC would have bent over backwards to accommodate all of them," he said.
ABC Local Queensland content manager Kellie Riordan confirmed this assumption.
"We spent time considering a number of dates for the event to ensure our audience would hear from all candidates," Ms Riordan said.
"It became evident the first date we considered was not suitable and so a new date was chosen - all candidates in the seat of Gregory have confirmed to the ABC they will attend this forum."