Federal election candidates for the seat of Page came together in a show of solidarity for charity left when they competed in a joint sports day on Saturday at the Lismore Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC).
The event, to raise money and create awareness of the services offered by the PCYC and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, showcased local singing, dancing and circus performances.
The three major parties were led by Janelle Saffin (Labor), Kevin Hogan (Nationals) and Desley Banks (Greens) who all aptly tied in the overall competition results, with each leader being presented a ‘Love on Tap’ trophy crafted by local artist Roa Dart.
Event organiser Paul Joseph believes the even result is indicative of the nature of our candidates.
‘This brings a whole new sense of commonality,’ Mr Joseph told Echonetdaily.
‘Instead of the politics of division it is the politics of inclusion. Getting them together like this takes the anger out of division.
‘Politics is all about ideas really, and the clash of them.
‘The spirit of all the candidates was tremendous.’
The day’s many events included The Great Rug Roll (carpet bowls), Shoot for the Stars (basket hoop shooting), the Tug’o’Peace, table tennis and pool.
Federal MP for Page Janelle Saffin told Echonetdaily when she first heard of the idea she thought ‘it sounded funny but sounded great.
‘Bringing us candidates together and collaborating is great, sure we are in competition because we have an upcoming election and we are in it to win it, but today shows that we all work together for the community, and we can have fun.
‘I had a go at carpet bowls, I didn’t start off very well but I got my eye in at the end. I also participated in a belly dance workshop which was the first time I’ve ever done it, I felt completely wooden and amazed that the teacher could move every bit.’
Her main challenger, the Nationals candidate, Kevin Hogan, showed form at carpet bowling and told Echonetdaily that ‘Desley, Janelle and I don’t have personal issues and have the best issues of our community and country at heart. We just have different ideas and thoughts about how we go towards that direction.’
The Greens’ candidate Desley Banks had just won the pool competition when she told Echonetdaily ‘I am pleased to have beaten Janelle and Kevin at pool today.
‘This event is fantastic – it shows the community that we candidates are more alike than different.’
Logging national parks is one area of politics that has received recent media attention, particularly claims Mr Hogan and the Nationals are all for it. Echonetdaily gave each candidate an opportunity to state their position on this.
Ms Saffin said ‘I am very much on the public record that there should be no logging in national parks and that any logging has to be sustainable. I have to say that Barnaby Joyce (Nationals) was up here and was calling for logging of national narks, while Kevin Hogan was out with him.’
Mr Hogan said ‘I have recently been misquoted as saying that I want to log national parks. This came from a response to a question that was asked of me regarding logging state forests surrounding national parks which was obviously misinterpreted. What I said was that obviously I am OK with logging in state forests but not national parks.’
Ms Banks said that ‘certainly the Greens are against any logging in national parks and should be preserved for future generations and biodiversity. State forests are there for our timber resources but I would like to see more plantation timbers here on the north coast, we have areas that we could be planting for the future. In saying that, the state forests need to be sensibly logged and managed properly.’
Money from the event was raised for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter service. Fundraising and community relations officer John Bancroft told Echonetdaily the service was ‘very happy to be recipients of the day’s generosity.’