Lively debate sets scene for close election in Fremantle

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 1-3-2013

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia

Publication Place



Candidates for the Seat of Fremantle in the upcoming WA State Election shared their vision for the future of the electorate during a lively debate held at The University of Notre Dame Australia's Fremantle Campus on Tuesday 26 February 2013.

The Debate for the State Seat of Fremantle attracted an audience of more than 300 people and comprised current and former members of parliament, welfare organisations, academics, students and local residents.

It was a collaborative event hosted by Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, the Fremantle Society, the Fremantle Network, Oxfam Fremantle and The University of Notre Dame Australia.

Andrew Sullivan (Greens), Matthew Hanssen (Liberal), Sanna Andrew (Socialist Alliance), Simone McGurk (Labor), Jan Ter Horst (Independent) and incumbent Member for Fremantle Adele Carles MP (Independent) all attended the debate in the prospect of representing Fremantle in the WA parliament for the next term of government.

Questions from the audience covered a range of issues including homelessness and affordable housing; renewable energy developments; the preservation of Fremantle's historic buildings; the new $220m Kings Square redevelopment, and the retention and development of small business in the city-centre.

Coinciding with the contemporary political atmosphere, this was the first debate held at Notre Dame in which audience members and the wider social media community could contribute to the discussion via a Twitter feed.

Chair of the forum and Adjunct Professor at the University's School of Arts and Sciences in Fremantle, Peter Kennedy, complimented the audience on their spirited engagement with the topics discussed by the Fremantle candidates.

"I thought the debate was a great event and the candidates responded well to the pertinent questions raised by the audience on a range of issues that affected them and their families," Adj Prof Kennedy said.

"The fact that some of the younger voters were present and contributed to the discussion, via an open question or on social media, was most encouraging.

"All candidates well and truly put their hand up for the Fremantle public vote at the WA State Election on March 9."

Notre Dame Fremantle Student Association member, Emma Bagg, said it was exciting to be in a "packed" auditorium with people who were passionate about the city of Fremantle and its future.

"It was pleasing to see the candidates speaking about their electorate in a frank and open manner and showing their passion for tackling issues affecting Fremantle's residents if they were to be elected," Ms Bagg said.

Notre Dame Senior Lecturer, Politics and International Relations, and co-coordinator of the debate, Dr Martin Drum, said he was delighted with the collaborative efforts of the Fremantle community in organising and hosting the debate.

"The large turnout was due to the six quality candidates that gave up their time to show why they should be elected for the State seat of Fremantle," Dr Drum said.

"The use of the live Twitter feed allowed audience members to have their say and ultimately contributed to a very exciting and lively debate."

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