By Matilda Marozzi
A debate planned between Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews and the Liberal Candidate for Mulgrave was cancelled after neither party could make time to participate.
President of Monash Ratepayers Inc. Des Olin had been planning the debate since February and had booked a room for October 13 at the Mulgrave Country Club.
‘I’m ashamed of all the political parties,’ Mr Olin told UniPollWatch.
‘They’ve let us down, the people of Victoria, by not participating in these kinds of debates.’
Over the last eight months Mr Olin made numerous approaches to Andrews’ secretary and the Liberal candidate Robert Davies.
‘The response from Robert Davies was that he wasn’t interested in doing a debate,’ Mr Olin said.
‘Daniel let me down also.
‘He wasn’t sure when he was going to be available so it was hard for me to pin him down to a permanent day or time.’
In a statement Mr Andrews said he was ‘committed to debate the local issues with the other candidates for the seat of Mulgrave’.
‘It’s a shame a date couldn’t be found but every Mulgrave voter will have a clear choice on Election Day.’
Robert Davies told UniPollWatch he ‘wasn’t too enthusiastic about’ the debate, but would have participated if there were strict rules and structures in place.
Mr Olin was surprised at the candidates’ reluctance after getting a ‘good response in the federal area’ last year when he organised a debate between the Labor Member for Bruce Alan
Griffin alongside the Liberal, Greens and Palmer United Party candidates.
‘There are only about 500 votes between winning and losing. I would have thought both the Liberal and the Labor party, and even the Greens would have wanted to participate,’ Mr Olin said.
‘The time that I had to put up with rubbish and excuses.
‘I don’t think it is good enough for the people of Mulgrave and Wheelers Hill.’
Matilda Marozzi is an RMIT University Journalism student.