OPINION: Will the Halloween election ghosts please come out?
BEING a candidate is a tough gig.
Regardless of which party you’re in or whether you’re an independent, it’s hot work, often involving heavy criticism and sometimes even abuse.
There’s no guarantee you will win and all the time, money, sweat and sleepless nights could be for nought.
But it’s a risk every single candidate takes because usually, whether said candidate is a staunch party member or a regular Joe having a shot, their heart is in it.
I should know. I ran for local government twice.
Campaigning involves meeting some wonderful souls and some fantastic experiences, but like all good things there are big sacrifices (including the wellbeing of your feet at the end of a long election day and two gruelling weeks at pre-poll).
It’s somewhat a rite of passage hand-in-hand with partaking in a democratic system.
That’s why it’s frustrating when candidates put their name on a ballot paper and then do nothing more.
Such is the case with three candidates in particular, who have so far failed to surface.
Running for the seat of Bundaberg, United Australia Party candidate Shane Smeltz is no stranger to the limelight.
The German-born Gold Coaster is a well-known footballer.
UAP ignored all our requests for information, leaving us with scant detail to help give readers at least a little information.
Mr Smeltz received a hefty $50,000 donation from Anna Palmer. But where’s the campaign?
Another Bundy ghost is Pauline Hanson’s Stewart Jones.
One Nation ignored us when we asked who Mr Jones was and what he hoped to bring to the table.
All we wanted was to give our community some basic information. A few paragraphs would have sufficed.
And there’s a ghost in Burnett, too.
Not sure who Geoffrey Mansell is? Neither are we. We know he’s running for One Nation, but that’s about it.
It’s disheartening that some parties make a mockery of democracy by endorsing candidates and then not bothering to inform voters or answer questions.
It’s doubly disheartening when they’re contacted to give a little information to local voters and fail to respond.
Then there were the candidates we reached out to who gave us little or nothing back.
The Greens candidates, Claire Ogden and Liam Johns, gave us a little after we reached out.
As for the Informed Medical Options Party candidate Elizabeth Case and Labor’s Kerri Morgan, readers were left with party bios listed online.
At least it was more than we got from our ghostly trio.
I find it concerning that Labor publicly stated their Burnett candidate isn’t a priority this election.
Don’t voters deserve to hear from her?
Along the way there’s been strong communication from LNP incumbents David Batt and Stephen Bennett, Labor’s Tom Smith, independent Ric Glass and Katter’s Australian Party’s Paul Hudson.
You’ll notice the names listed right above feature predominantly in our candidate Q&As.
As a local news organisation supporting local people, we aim to give every single candidate the chance to let voters know what they stand for.
As a voter myself, I want to know where everyone stands too.
Every candidate had the option to participate.
No one is asking you to be perfect when you run for government, just that you give it a shot, and dignify the region by giving it your best.
Perhaps these ghosts will pop out of hiding at the last minute, delivering their lists of policies and plans for Bundaberg and Burnett.
Otherwise, voters may just need a number for a psychic medium if hoping to make an informed choice this Halloween.