Braddon candidates debate the big issues in Devonport

DEBATE: The Advocate editor Luke Sayer moderated a Braddon byelection debate between Labor candidate Justine Keay and Liberal candidate Brett Whiteley. Picture: Lachlan Bennett
DEBATE: The Advocate editor Luke Sayer moderated a Braddon byelection debate between Labor candidate Justine Keay and Liberal candidate Brett Whiteley. Picture: Lachlan Bennett

The leading contenders for the Braddon byelection have defended their record and policies as they fight to regain a seat in parliament.

Liberal candidate Brett Whiteley is hoping to return to Canberra after he was tossed out in 2016 while Labor candidate Justine Keay wants to retake her seat following a citizenship debacle.

The pair went head-to-head at The Advocate’s Braddon byelection debate held in Devonport on Monday.

Mr Whiteley said while he’d been voted out twice, he was elected three times.

“My parents taught me that if you’re passionate about something and have a goal in life, you should never give up," he said.

“The people had their say in the last election. They’ll also have their say in this election. I’m passionate about this community, I believe I have the solutions …”

Ms Keay said her citizenship was right when she nominated and the byelection was caused by a new interpretation of section 44 of the Constitution by the High Court.

She said she was driven by the opportunity to help her constituents.

“… When you have positive change on a person’s life by having the privilege of being their representative, that's what gets me up every day. That’s why I go to Canberra and fight for them…,” she said.

The debate saw the candidates discuss election issues including health, education, government support payments, and jobs.

 HAVING THEIR SAY: Labor candidate Justine Keay speaks at the Braddon Byelection Forum in Devonport on Wednesday night, as Liberal candidate Brett Whiteley looks on. Picture: Brodie Weeding

HAVING THEIR SAY: Labor candidate Justine Keay speaks at the Braddon Byelection Forum in Devonport on Wednesday night, as Liberal candidate Brett Whiteley looks on. Picture: Brodie Weeding

The Advocate reader Phillip Purnell asked the candidates for their views on trickle-down economics in light of the Coalition’s planned corporate tax cuts.

Mr Whiteley said the Liberals wanted to put businesses “back in charge of their money” by letting them pay less tax.

“They will spend it far more wisely than what government ever will and they’re proving that: a million jobs over the last five years, 1800 new jobs being created in Braddon,” he said.

“… Businesses need to be given the environment and opportunity to do what they do best and that is invest in their business.”

Ms Keay said Mr Whiteley was “cherry picking” statistics and Tasmania had lost 2000 jobs in three years.

She said the Turnbull government would give banks a “$17 billion taxpayer-funded tax cut” and its trickle down economic theory for company tax cuts would go to multinationals.

“This money is at the expense of funding for our hospitals and our schools and eight out of 10 businesses reported to the Business Council of Australia’s elite survey that they would not increase wages, they would not employ more people,” she said.

“This is just the government hoping that on a whim and a prayer that companies will actually do those things and they said that they won’t.”

This story Braddon candidates debate the big issues in Devonport first appeared on The Advocate.