FOUR of the five candidates for Hammond in Saturday's State election have assembled at Murray Bridge Community Club for a public forum on the evening of Tuesday, March 11.
Incumbent Liberal MP Adrian Pederick, Nationals candidate Rachel Titley, Family First's Daniel Gutteridge and the Greens' Damien Pyne are taking questions from the crowd throughout the evening.
Murray Valley Standard journalist Peri Strathearn is moderating the discussion.
Regular updates will be posted below.
8.50pm: Why does the Liberal Party want to separate Department for Education and Child Development and Families SA? What will be the impact on children and families of increased bureaucracy?
Adrian Pederick: Child protection has been an absolute shocker under the Labor Government. It's absolutely disgraceful. We're going to turn back the clock and get the Department of Education to look after educating our children, and the Department of Families and Communities to look after the welfare of our children - I think this will be a real positive.
Damien Pyne: We need to address this. We need to look at solving a problem before it happens. What we do know is we have an issue here and it's people hurting people. It's important we address it at the core and it's not an after thought.
Rachel Titley: Permanency coupled with education and employment gives kids the key to life. The reality is that stability, structure and safety changes these kids. if a child goes through 20 plus placements, that child is pretty ill-equipped for pretty much every part of their life. We know the parallels that run in non-term unemployed families and we need to find money for prevention and intervention.
8.47pm: Where do you stand on genetically modified crops?
Damien Pyne: We believe we can grow these things without genetic modification by looking into farming procedures.
Rachel Titley: Yes, We do support looking to GM crops. We would like to see 90 per cent of funding go to 90 pc of farmers.
Adrian Pederick: We don't support GM crops but we support development and will look into its future.
Daniel Gutteridge: Not sure of the party's policy but I will look into it.
(Family First later contacted The Standard to say it supported the present moratorium on GM crops.)
8.40pm: Question - Do you believe the Natural Resource Management needs tidying up and would you support reform changes to support landowners?
Daniel Gutteridge: We've been pushing for the right to farm act and the mining act has been pushing closer and closer into safe farming land. We need to look into what is going on and make sure what's going ahead is the best for the people.
(Family First later contacted The Standard to clarify that it had committed to reviewing the NRM and Native Vegetation Acts.)
Adrian Pederick: I think NRM has got out of control. There are a lot of improvements that can be made. If elected, we're committed to a full branch review of the NRM act of 2004.
- What is your position on fracking?
Adrian Pederick: Our position of fracking is we will have a standing committee do a full inquiry into the effect of fracking.
Rachel Titley: 2014 is the year of the family farm. There is a lot of hostility in the primary industry in the top down approach of supporting ag staff. PIRSA is down to 35 staff. I'd like to see a re-injection into ag services.
Damien Pyne: We know fracking can be potentially very hazardous. We have some of the most fertile growing land in the world in SA. What we're really afraid of is people not having a voice to say this isn't right. We don't have an office you can go to and voice your concerns, which is concerning.
(Daniel Gutteridge was unsure of his party's position, but Family First later told The Standard it wanted a moratorium on fracking in the South East.)
8.33pm: Question - Leigh Creek is running out of coal. What happens when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining? Nuclear energy?
Damien Pyne: The Greens aren't in support of nuclear power its form we know it is now. It is not a renewable energy. We need a mix of renewable sources. We believe there is better ways of energy production and we can do it cleaner and most cost effective.
Adrian Pederick: I believe we need to find a base layer of source and we need to keep at it.
Daniel Gutteridge: We are not really big enough for nuclear power. We've got geothermal and hydro power, so there are other options.
8.25pm; Question - If you had $200 million for the Dukes Highway, is that the best way you could spend on infrastructure in the area or a rail-road bypass?
Adrian Pederick: We need to look at what infrastructure we need. I agree the rail bypass needs some more thought, reports say it could cost $200 billion - but I fully support research there. I think both projects are good projects.
8.12pm: Question - Why invest $20 million on the Gifford Hill development on the outskirts of Murray Bridge when so many other goals of the Imagine Your Rural City campaign have not yet been reached? How did the decision come about?
Rachel Titley: I'm delighted Steven Marshall has put concrete support to the region in the form of the loan.
Damien Pyne: With such a sustainable amount of money, I would like there to be extensive planning.
Daniel Gutteridge: I think it is a shining gem to get the ball rolling. With the Gifford Hill project, that's definitely what this town needs. We are for this - it's going to bring in employment and help with our public transport plight.
8.05pm: Question - What are your views on wind farms and what will you do to protect residents from them?
Damien Pyne: We're all for investigating into renewable energy sources that are clean, efficient and sustainable. We're not saying we want to put a wind farm everywhere but we want people to be involved in the planning of the future. There are lots of considerations - communities and environment.
Adrian Pederick: Liberals have a clearly defined policy that we don't want wind farms within two kilometres of a house or five kilometres of a town. Some farmers want it on their property for additional income. There has not been one scientific review that wind farms are a health hazard.
Daniel Gutteridge: Family First likes to have full community support and we won't do anything without full support. We feel there are certain hoops that wind farm groups need to jump through.
7.52pm: Question - What is your stance on public transport in the area?
Damien Pyne: Public transport is an issue we certainly need to address. What we need to focus on is who's using the system, how to make it faster, cheaper and better, especially being so far from higher education facilities in the city.
Rachel Titley: It's certainly been a prevalent issue that has been raised in the community and it is impacting on people's inability to further their study. It doesn't just affect students but other aged demographics and tourism. There is certainly a domino effect.
Adrian Pederick: I fought for public transport ever since I became a politician in this area. I've worked with Link SA on how we can improve the situation and better line up the routes. I'm glad to see there is going to be a new change over station in Mt Barker. Public transport will stack up better and better but it is a matter of time.
Daniel Gutteridge: When I was 15 I petitioned for better public transport. It was costing me $100 to get to Adelaide for uni a week - that's a lot of money for a student. Family First is pushing for an improved system down here and to see if we can trial metro tickets here. Chloe Fox's argument is there is no demand for it here, but that's because no one can afford it. We need something trialed to get on top of it.
7.45pm: Question - Where do you stand on the Gonski reforms?
Damien Pyne: Liberals are not supporting Gonski school reforms - we've seen it in national parliament. The Liberal party is not page as the Greens and the Labor party. The Greens are supporting the Gonski funding for every child in this country.
Rachel Titley: I don't have a real comprehensive understanding of the Gonski reforms but 25 percent of 15-19-year-olds are not getting an education and not getting employed. We need a redevelopment of of education in this area for our brightest and our best to gain tertiary education and avoid moving out of the area. I am very concerned about the lack of opportunities in this area.
Adrian Pederick: Steven Marshall and the Liberals support Gonski. We need to find $600 million to find it - we will find that if elected. Gonski will bring extra funding, our commitment to bring year 7 to high school will bring SA into line with other states in the country. We are here to see Gonski support every student.
Daniel Gutteridge: Family First is all for education - education is very important. Murray Bridge is spoiled for choice with schools. We don't want to see a school like Coomandook closed without community support.
7.40pm: Question - Where does Adrian Pederick live and is he still involved with the Coomandook Area School? Will he back the continuation of the school?
Adrian Pederick: I will fight for the Coomandook Area School, I went to that school. I gave a speech in November and The Standard picked up those quotes that my wife was still working there. I am still living in Coomandook, my wife is seeing the dysfunction in the education system and the little school. I am determined to get that school back on track.I would have loved to keep my kids there but when you have a school like that people take the kids out. We will not be shutting the school if elected,.
7.35pm: Question - Do you support same sex marriage? If not, explain your discriminatory position?
Rachel Titley: I'm delighted we are having this conversation. At this point, we don't support same sex marriage.Our major focus is the best interest of and we've not just looking at individuals.
Damien Pyne: We are 100 percent against discrimination like this. We are fighting for every person in the country and to have the same rights. We certainly don't agree with negative impacts on children with homosexual parents. We push for marriage equality.
Daniel Gutteridge: We believe in traditional values of marriage between a man and a woman. We look at the development of the child.
Adrian Pederick: It's a national issue. l would vote against same sex. I believe in the sanctuary of marriage between a man and a woman.
7.30pm: Question - Can the State do anything to improve the Dukes Highway?
Adrian Pederick: Money should have gone to get the highway duplicated. It is a band-aid measure seeing overtaking lanes. In the longer term, we are certainly committed to seeing duplication of the Dukes Highway to the Victorian boarder.
Damien Pyne: As long as we're producing good results in the terms of safety, efficiency and public transport needs. We see there's improvement to be had and we support it.
Rachel Titley: We need a member that is going to stand up for funds and to rally the money. I'd love for some of that money to be filtered back and for some of it to go to roads and railways.
7.20pm: Question - Why should people in Hammond take an interest in what has traditionally been a safe Liberal seat?
Adrian Pederick, Liberals: I don't regard anything as safe. Since my preselection in 2004, I firmly believe you need to work hard. I think you have to make a point in the political-sphere and recognise there is not safe seat.
Daniel Gutteridge, Family First: As Adrian said, there is no such thing as a safe seat. We need to be working hard and show the potential Murray Bridge has.
Damien Pyne, Greens: What we want to do is given people the option to push for a marginal seat. We need to keep pushing for everyone to get heard.
Rachel Titley, Nationals: I would like to see our voice heard. It's been very obvious to me across the campaign trail the Prime Minister has been impacted by the Nationals. I'm delighted that we are the voice of rural and regional Australia
7.10pm: First questions are just moments away. More than 40 people are in attendance with host Peri Strathearn welcoming candidates and members of the public. To ask a question comment on the recent post of The Murray Valley Standard's Facebook page or on Twitter, @MV_Standard, #hammondvotes
6.50pm: People are arriving ahead of the start of The Murray Valley Standard's Hammond Election Forum. Candidates are busy greeting attendees.
4.30pm: Staff from The Standard are heading to Murray Bridge Community Club to set up for tonight's forum.