The candidates for the Federal seat of Mallee will have a critical final chance to
sway public opinion in the southern part of the electorate at Monday night’s
Mallee Rally in Horsham.

A record 12
candidates, including 11 party representatives and an independent, will contest
the seat.

Public
interest through the large electorate is high, with a new member to be elected
following the retirement of long-time incumbent John Forrest and organisers are
expecting a big crowd at the September 2 event.

And they
will get a chance to outline their major election issues during the rally, with
organisers calling for questions.

Questions
can be emailed to the Wimmera Development Association (WDA), to jbourke@wda.org.au
and will be posed to the various candidates.

It is rare
for the solidly conservative electorate to have such a ‘live’ election.

Only three
members of parliament have represented Mallee since the seat’s inception in the
late 1940s.

The largely
agricultural seat, which encompasses the Sunraysia and Murray Valley
horticultural districts, along with the dryland farming areas of the Wimmera
and Mallee, has always belonged to the Nationals, but this election, the
Liberal party will run a candidate against their Coalition partners.

Last time
two Coalition candidates squared off against each other, in 1993, the result
was a nail-biter, with the Nationals candidate Mr Forrest winning by the
narrowest of margins.

Foreign
investment in agricultural, infrastructure and public transport are expected to
be key election issues.

It is the
first major political rally in Horsham in recent history and the vast majority
of candidates will be in attendance.

Along with
the Liberals and Nationals, there will be candidates
from the Australian Labor Party, the Greens, Katter Australia Party, Rise Up
Australia Party, Palmer United Party, Australian Sex Party, the Citizens
Electoral Lobby, Family First and the Country Alliance, along with independent
Allen Ridgeway.

The debate
will be held at Wesley Performing Arts Centre, Horsham, just days out from the
September 7 poll.

It will be hosted
by VFF policy adviser Peter Hunt, a former journalist with the Weekly Times and
has been organised by the Wimmera Development Association and the Wimmera Press
Club.

WDA
executive officer Jo Bourke said there had been good feedback regarding the
rally.

“People seem
to be genuinely interested in getting along and hearing what all the candidates
have got to say.

“After all
these years of being the safest federal Coalition seat in Australia, people are
now really looking closely at what the candidates can bring to the table.”

“I urge
Wimmera residents to come and ask the candidates about issues that matter to
them.

“Whether it
be roads, mobile coverage, health, education or agriculture, we need voters to
come and join in this historic rally,” Ms Bourke said.

“I
applaud the Wimmera Press Club for taking this initiative and urge everyone to
attend this important meeting,” she said.

Mallee Rally 2013 – The Great Debate
will be held from 7pm at Wesley Performing Arts Centre Horsham on September 2.


Further information

Jo Bourke 0419 571 711

jbourke@wda.org.au

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