Kooyong candidates can’t agree to debate terms

Nine first approached Ryan’s campaign team last week with the idea of a studio debate to be moderated by political editor Chris Uhlmann. Ryan issued a statement on Monday saying she was only prepared to debate Frydenberg in a forum where Kooyong electors were able to ask questions.

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“Mr Frydenberg needs to stop hiding from his constituents,” she said. “He should be prepared to meet with the voters of Kooyong, as I am.”

Frydenberg in previous federal election campaigns participated in candidate forums hosted by Lighter Footprints. He said that at the last one, police intervened when someone from the audience tried to storm the stage.

“I welcome a fair and balanced debate in a non-partisan forum about the important issues facing my community,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“Lighter Footprints is a front for those campaigning against me. Participating in a debate hosted by Lighter Footprints would be akin to attending a campaign rally organised by my political opponents.”

Lighter Footprints co-convenor Lynn Frankes denied that her organisation was politically partisan and described Frydenberg’s characterisation of the group as disrespectful.

“We have people who are members of the Labor Party and people who are members of the Greens party and we would welcome Liberal Party members should they choose to participate in our activities.” she said.

“We are very clear about being non-partisan, but that doesn’t mean that all of our members are not allowed to participate in political activities.”

Frankes confirmed she previously stood as a Greens candidate but said that Staindl was no longer an administrator of Lighter Footprints and the organisational details on the group’s Facebook page were out of date.

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The Kooyong Candidates Forum will go ahead with Ryan, and candidates from the Greens and ALP at the Hawthorn Town Hall.

Wilson, Daniel and other candidates for Goldstein will all appear at a Bayside Climate Crisis Action Group forum at Brighton Town Hall on Thursday night. Wilson declined to take part in another proposed forum organised by The Age, citing concerns that not all candidates would be involved.

Jacqueline Maley cuts through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, views and expert analysis. Sign up to our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.

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