Liberal National Party candidate Bill Glasson has been forced to answer questions about refugees and Great Barrier Reef pollution at by-election forum.
A candidate forum in the seat vacated by ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been used to savage the Abbott government’s immigration and climate change policies.
Liberal National Party (LNP) candidate Bill Glasson was forced to answer questions about refugees and the imminent dumping of sludge near the Great Barrier Reef during the by-election forum on Wednesday night.
But he left early, avoiding being quizzed on whether the coalition would introduce a $6 GP tax.
A largely Labor and Green crowd at times heckled and booed Dr Glasson, who narrowly lost to Mr Rudd at the September poll.
But he stood firm on the federal government’s climate change policies, including the abolition of the carbon tax.
“Our argument is that the introduction of a carbon tax is not going to decrease our carbon footprint in Australia or the world,” he said, adding it was costing jobs and the economy.
He also defended the coalition’s asylum seeker policy, saying the illegal trade of people was unacceptable.
But he put the decision to allow the dumping of dredge spoil, from Abbot Point, back on the authority that gave the permit.
“Obviously, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority made that decision … and I’m sure that the consequences of that on the reef have been considered,” he said.
Labor candidate Terri Butler, who was greeted by loud cheers, used the forum to attack the government’s efficiency review of the ABC and SBS.
Ten of the 11 candidates running for Griffith attended the forum in the hip inner-Brisbane suburb of West End.
The only no-show was Bullet Train for Australia candidate and Kevin Rudd impersonator Anthony Akroyd.
Dr Glasson had to leave at half-time for another appointment, with some of the crowd feeling disappointed with his effort.
“Bye, bye Bill,” many shouted.
“You won’t be elected,” one said.
However, Dr Glasson’s chances of being elected are firming with bookies.
His odds have shortened from $8 to $4.60, while Ms Butler remains favourite at $1.16.
To be any chance of victory, Dr Glasson will need preferences from minor parties to flow his way.
Although he polled the most primary votes at the September federal poll, he narrowly lost on preferences.
The by-election will be held on Saturday.