In the same week Pru Goward pledged $120 million in hospital upgrades, Ursula Stephens vowed to make no promises at all.
The two frontrunners in the race for the seat of Goulburn adopted contrasting ploys at a Friday night candidates forum that featured widespread jeering and the odd verbal stoush.
Some 120 people filed through the Workers Club auditorium doors for the Goulburn Post organised event.
In the space of two hours, they sat through election policy spiels, engaged in laughter and listened in amazement as Outdoor Recreation Party candidate Wal Ashton threatened to “blow” Ms Goward’s seat away.
Along the way, Liberal incumbent Ms Goward told one audience member to “shut up”, Christian Democrat Adrian Van Der Byl admitted to loving the Dreamworks film Shrek and Green Iain Fyfe promised to “take power out of the hands of big companies”.
The predominately pro-Labor crowd, many of them walking billboards dressed in ‘Vote 1 Ursula Stephens’ shirts, broke into rapturous applause the moment their candidate swore to make no election promises in the countdown to the March 28 poll.
“I’m not prepared to buy your vote. You don’t want pork barrelling, you want honesty and integrity,” Dr Stephens, a senator for 12 years, said in her opening address.
Those words came in direct response to Tuesday’s announcement by Ms Goward that a reelected Baird Government would commit $120 million to redevelop Goulburn Base Hospital.
“This is fairy dust being sprinkled around on the eve of an election,” Dr Stephens added.
That statement lit the fuse of a passionate to-and-fro between the two major party candidates.
While most audience questions were directed at Ms Goward and Dr Stephens, Mr Ashton ensured his presence was noted.
“What we need is a local member who’ll identify the problems and go out and sell Goulburn to the community,” Mr Ashton began.
“Give me four years, it will be an entirely different four years. Come for the ride. I will sell this place.”
The closing line to his opening address was met with extensive applause, particularly from those adorned in red coloured Labor Party T-shirts.
Ms Goward, the sitting member since March of 2007, promised Goulburn would get its fair share under a Coalition government.
She also took aim at a Labor Party campaign policy built on “lies”.
“Lie number one,” the former Sex Commissioner began, “the poles and wires policy is not privatisation. The government will always maintain ownership.
“Lie number two: prices will not go up under this lease. The average household bill for families in this city will be $159 lower every year for five years.”
Many present showed obvious distain of Ms Goward throughout.
One audience member muttered “rubbish” in response to her comments on no-fewer than four occasions.
The Liberal MP lost her cool on the final mutter.
“Well you don’t even read the budget papers, so shut up,” she fired at the heckler amidst debate about the future of rail.
Criticism of the current Planning Minister wasn’t confined to the audience. In his final of the address of the night, Mr Ashton said the current government and its bureaucracy had refused to listen to his concerns over the state of Tarlo River National Park.
When Ms Goward rolled her eyes and turned to stare at Mr Ashton, the Outdoor Recreation Party candidate erupted.
“I might even blow your seat away,” Mr Ashton yelled.
“We can build a helluva good industry and it’s not done in an old-fashioned way. We can make something special (at Tarlo River) if we get a chance.”
The No Land Tax Party candidate Stephen Fitzpatrick was an absentee.