Tamworth Business Chamber cancels public debate after Barnaby Joyce no show

NO GO: Barnaby Joyce, pictured at a meet the candidates event organised by local media for the 2016 election, has ruled out public debates this time around.
NO GO: Barnaby Joyce, pictured at a meet the candidates event organised by local media for the 2016 election, has ruled out public debates this time around.

THE Tamworth Business Chamber has cancelled its meet the candidates forum, the day after The Leader revealed Nationals’ candidate Barnaby Joyce would not be attending any public debates.

President Jye Segboer said the chamber had received very little interest from the general public and only a handful of candidates had expressed interest in participating.

Read more:  Barnaby Joyce boycotts public debates and forums

“Finding out the main candidate wouldn’t attend, that really stopped our numbers in their tracks,” Mr Segboer said.

“We had strong inquiries from public up until yesterday, when Mr Joyce said he won’t attend. 

“We got the feeling that having public event without having the front runner was not what people wanted.

“Unfortunately, without the numbers, there just wouldn’t be a balanced, healthy debate.”

Mr Segboer said he was “disappointed” with Mr Joyce’s decision to boycott public forums due to the number of “out-of-towner” candidates. Of the 17 candidates, nine are from outside the electorate.

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“I think public has right to ask questions,” Mr Segboer said.

“The way the forum was going to be conduct would have been in a Q&A style, with people submitting questions in advance and the moderator ensuring all candidates are given an equal opportunity.”

Mr Segboer thanked those candidates and members of the public who did get in contact with the chamber to register their interest.