Voters will be able to hear from candidates first-hand and ask their own questions at a community forum being organised by Orange City Council next week.
Orange Mayor Cr Reg Kidd said the ‘Pizza with the Pollies’ forum is being held in the Civic Centre council chambers at 6pm Friday 1 March, three weeks out from the NSW election.
You can watch the event LIVE on the council’s Livestream YouTube page or watch the recording of the event later.
“Last year the council decided to arrange an opportunity to hear from all candidates in the lead up to the election,” Cr Reg Kidd said. “Now we know who the candidates are, the opportunity to open up the event to any interested community members has been organised.”
“All of the candidates we know about so far have agreed to be a part of the event, and local community leader Jamie Newman will be there to chair the forum and act as MC. There’ll be a brief opportunity for each candidate to speak before it’s opened up for questions. If there are new candidates announced before Friday 1 March, they’ll be welcome.
“Other central west centres have staged open community forums to hear from candidates, but it’s been a while since this has been tried in Orange.
“Often voters are having to make up their mind based on a few snippets of media reporting. We want to give people the chance to ask the questions that are important to them, and to get public answers.
“It’s a crucial part of the democratic process for every voter to be as informed as they can.
“In the US, there’s a long-held tradition of events like this called ‘Town Hall meetings’ and they’re a regular part of the electoral cycle, not just during election campaigns. As well as asking questions, events like this can be a good way for candidates to find out what are the important issues for local residents.
“We want to make the event as accessible as we can, so there’ll be free pizza on-offer while we’re listening to the questions and answers. Refreshments will also be available. Why not start your weekend by coming to ‘Pizza with the Pollies’.
“We’ve been able to live-stream council meetings for a while now, and that’s proving popular, particularly when there’s a major issue up for debate. The YouTube livestream of Tuesday’s meeting attracted 343 views. We’ll be looking to live stream the candidates’ forum on the night so it can be opened up to an even wider audience.”