Five intending candidates for the Mallee electorate in the upcoming federal election participated in a forum in Nhill on Monday evening.

Around fifty interested residents from across the region gathered in the Nhill Memorial Community Centre to hear from each candidate what they would offer if elected.

Those participating in the forum included the sitting member, Dr Anne Webster MP from the National Party, Citizens Party candidate Chris Lahy, United Australia Party candidate Stuart King. and independent candidates, Claudia Haenel and Sophie Baldwin

As candidates can only formally nominate once the election has been called, this may not be the final list of those who will contest this election in Mallee.

The date for the election has not been set, but it cannot be any later than May 21, and with the requirement to be called no later than thirty-three days before it is held and Prime Minister Morrison’s suggestion of a mid-May date, the options left appear to be either May 14 or 21.

In the formal part of the evening, which was moderated by Wimmera Mail-Times editor Ben Fraser, each candidate was given five minutes to outline what they are offering the electorate, and this was followed by an open question session where members of the audience, and viewers of the live stream via Facebook, could ask questions of the candidates.

Although the discussion occasionally strayed onto topics of state government responsibility or federal areas of little direct influence on the Mallee electorate, most of the forum was relevant and informative.

Considering the venue, it was not surprising that funding for the upgrade of Nhill’s Davis Park was a hot topic, but others included climate change, funding for the NDIS scheme, road and rail funding, vaccination mandates, the preservation of National Parks, and the lack of strong political leadership.

Each candidate, particularly the independents, was challenged to declare which side they would support If they were to find themselves on the crossbenches.

We now look forward to more detail from each candidate on the region’s important issues as the election approaches.