WHEN the state and federal elections come up this year, Bathurst residents can rest assured that'll have opportunities to get to know their candidates so they can make an informed decision.
For more than 20 years, Bathurst's Combined Superannuates and Pensioners Association (CPSA) has been holding candidate forums for major elections to bring people closer to the politicians who may represent them.
CPSA president John Hollis said the forums were a valuable tool to prepare people to cast their votes.
“From my point of view, there are two issues, one to let the public be informed of who their candidates are, and for them to be able to see them in person and for candidates to summarise [their policies] in the public arena,” he said.
“The CPSA has a body in NSW that lobbies government and gives our members, the Bathurst branch members, the opportunity to talk to the prospective politicians about any issues they might have and how they would handle them if they got elected to parliament.
“Really, the whole idea it to open the candidates up to the community.”
Mr Hollis said that the state election forum will be held in March, while the one for the federal election will happen in May.
The CPSA is expected to get to work contacting candidates near the end of January so they can organise the forums.
Mr Hollis said the forums always tend to get a good response from people, who particularly enjoy the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates.
“No matter what level of government you look at, you've always got lots of questions and sometimes the questions are a bit stacked; you might get some questions from a particular group, and sometimes you get students down from CSU who rattle the cage a little bit,” he said.
“It allows people to vent their thoughts without directing it at any one political party.”
Several candidates have been confirmed for the two elections this year.
Running for the Bathurst electorate in the state election, to be held on March 23, are current member Paul Toole (Nationals), Beau Riley (Labor) and Brenden May (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers).
A date has not been set for the federal election yet, however Andrew Gee (Nationals) and Jess Jennings (Labor) are confirmed to be running for the seat of Calare.