Oakeshott 'blocked' for answering questions PM didn't see
ROB Oakeshott, who challenged Nationals incumbent Luke Hartsuyker for the seat of Cowper, has slammed his election opponent for shutting down genuine debate on the issues that matter most to the electorate.
It comes after Mr Hartsuyker took to Facebook saying he was going to meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and welcomed locals putting forward questions on the big issues in the electorate.
The post generated almost 300 questions.
Online readers wanted to ask the PM about issues such as government concessions for small business, public mistrust of political parties, indigenous affairs, the need for Australia to follow other nations and legislate a same sex marriage bill, questions on the failure of the NBN and of course a heap of questions about climate change and what was being done to protect future generations from the fallout of carbon reliance and its environmental impact.
Then came questions on Gonski funding, changes to pensions, Centrelink, the disparity in the pensions that politicians are paid to every other Australian, the lack of funding for frontline domestic violence agencies and what is being done federally to cater to increased need for cancer treatment, Medicare and last but not least the Pacific Highway bypass of Coffs Harbour.
It looked to be healthy debate about Federal politics and a great initiative that the Federal Government was engaging with the voters of Cowper.
But a follow-up video post lasting just two minutes in which Prime Minister Turnbull answered just three selected questions including what he did on weekends - although a question well asked by a local school student - has not resonated well with the readers.
As Advocate reader Allie Paul put it: "The way it was all set up made me feel like we were being spoken to like little children. Very disappointing effort all round."
Comments on the MPs Facebook post followed suit.
Liisa Rusanen Wow. I can't say my expectations were high, but this is unbelievably laughable, patronising, the most lame PR exercise I have ever seen. Are you serious?
Adam Oudeman Luke, the time of speaking to constituents as children has passed. We want real answers to real questions, for the money you receive we expect better.
Lisa Siegel Luke, you missed an opportunity to ask REAL questions - the people of Cowper provided you with so many good ones! This video makes me so sad.
Steve Bullock Bloody rubbish questions Luke, are you that scared of Turnbull that you can't ask a proper question?
Vivianne Elliott Please don't bother doing this again, because it feels like an insult.
Samuel Zacchariah Bowen This is as pathetic as you are as a supposed representative of our electorate.
Solomon Robson It's so plainly obvious for all to see that you know you are speaking untruths Mr Trumball.
Lynnie Robertson I feel like I'm watching Playschool. The tone is patronising
Trish Welsh Luke why was one of the three questions put to the PM about what he does on the weekends. I cannot believe you thought that important enough to put to the PM
Alison Traynor My goodness ~ really didn't want to watch the video, as the cover photo, already looked like a Punch & Judy Puppet Show.
Sandra Parriott Why amI not surprised. Such a disappointing exercise. Nothing specific regarding Cowper. Waste of my time.
John Manson Does the PM do this with every local member around the country? I can't imagine him sitting down with Bill Shorten so I am sure the answer is no.
Margaret Harrison I was disappointed with the choice of questions as they resembled those put forward by your colleagues in question time.
John Considine This little video should be called " More than enough Rope".
Rebecca Hope I thought this was going to be real. Like, perhaps a real opportunity to ask real questions.
Mel Feisty Fitzpatrick With this kind of representation, Cowper should be re-named cowpat.
Ed Pike Sad. That TV blurb was poor theatre! The heartland needs you to act now! Families on annual incomes less than, say $80,000 need your help .
Michael Dexter Palmer Not a single positive comment... wow... this is what focus group "leadership" looks like. Vote for an independent people.
Bonnie Capell This is embarrassing to watch
Linda Colman It's like an episode of Playschool.
Mr Hartsuyker has responded since saying all questions would be forwarded to the relevant ministers to be answered.
But enter Mr Oakeshott, who has since posted on social media that he has been 'blocked' from answering the 288 questions on Mr Hartsuyker's website and social media platforms.
"I thought there were some very good and very genuine questions that remain unanswered," Mr Oakeshott said.
"In between putting children to bed, I managed to answer questions on indigenous recognition and Treaty, the deplorable state of the NBN and mobile phone service within the Mid-North Coast, the decline of bulk billing access within our region, and the importance of renewable energy within our region.
"There were more to answer on topics like Gonski etc, but I was blocked.
"I am genuinely surprised that the National Party and/or Luke Hartsuyker have chosen to shut down debate, rather than engage in it. Why are they running from this community."
Here's just a selection of some of the great questions we saw posted:
Joel Matthews Luke,my question to the Prime Minister would be, Know that the government has cancelled the Education supplement payment for parents, we were told at the time that this money would be directed back into education. I would like to know is what projects or what additional resources are being funded in a time where parents are struggling to pay the bills at the beginning of the school year.
Bethany Cook Ask him why the Department of Education is still refusing to pay their bill to the Conservatorium Mid North Coast in Port Macquarie...they owe money for services provided last year and have still not paid their bill.
Mel Bradbury Could you ask the Prime Minister if my partner and I can get married please, we have been together for 21 years and would like to be able to have a wedding before our parents die.
Mick Semb Wever Why does Turnbull insist on fossil fuels when wind and solar generates electricity for half the cost and generates twice as many jobs?
Peter Hull I am saddened and frustrated. This year I have been impacted by two extreme weather events. In June the East Coast Low caused a catastrophic storm surge which destroyed our beach and flooded the low areas adjacent to our creek. Just last week I was out fighting catastrophic fires at Dondingalong in a severe heatwave. Scientists are continuously reporting the increased incidence of more severe events is the direct result of human induced climate change. I would like to ask Mr Turnbull what level of catastrophe is required to trigger an adequate response by this government human induced climate change? Holding up lumps of coal in parliament and calling for "clean" coal power stations in contradiction of all the world's peer reviewed science is not a response. Nor is lying about the role of renewables in recent power shortages!
Champ Murray Luke could you please ask the Prime Minister why Headspace Coffs Harbour is funded $90,000 per year less than the average Headspace site, even though we see 10% more new clients and 300% more face to face visits with young people than an "average site". This is especially inequitable when northern NSW has the highest youth suicide rate in the state. Dr Nicola Holmes.
Wendy Nathan I would like to ask the Prime Minister when will there be equality with politicians pensions & retirement allowances and everybody else's pensions & retirement allowances? Why can politicians access their pension prior to anybody else. In what way is this considered fair?
Georgetta Porter To the prime minister, when are you going to bring back national service for all the young unemployed, this needs to happen so their off the streets doing damage to peoples property and getting tattoos and buying drugs and grog with the hard earnt tax payers dollars, the welfare would drop so fast and the government would be in the black real quick.
Vickiree Melouney I rang your office today about my concerns in regard to Medicare and Drs not bulk billing .... I want him to lift the freeze which seems to be the main reason the Drs are stopping bulk billing ..... not fair on low income families that need to see specialists regularly.
Terri Croad Why won't the Prime Minister and his Government keep their election promise and guarantee the full Gonski funding to our schools?
Simon Turnbull Can you ask him if you and him can have a wage freeze back dated to 2012 through to 2020. Just to keep you in line with the Medicare Freeze for health care professionals.
Lai Yin Gibb-Cheng When does he intend to address the human rights violations and begin shutting down refugee detention centres? Also when he does he intend to stop being a puppet of the fossil fuel industry and direct the country in embracing the inevitable, renewable energy.
Scott Wait What is the government going to do to stop the decline in manufacturing in Australia or is the government happy to see companies like W E Smith and it's associated jobs and capabilities be lost forever.
Susie Peake I would like to ask Mr Turnbull ..."Why is it that either you dont understand or choose not to acknowledge that trees produce oxygen, that trees are essential to a healthy planet and that clear felling of our precious forests is contradictory to common sense. .....that all things are interconnected and we need our natural environment to be healthy on a healthy planet ?"
Alistair Flower I've been in Sydney most of my life but have bought business in the beautiful and developing Port Macquarie - the internet is horrible and it actually effects my business. It's quite unbelievable how poor it is. Also travelling up and down highway and if I'm in a conference call it cuts in and out the whole way. Very frustrating. I just want to understand how Cowper can be prioritised
Joy Corben What plans are there for Australia to catch up with the rest of the world on renewable energy and broadband speeds? This would be funny if it wasn't so painfully true for so many people in Cowper and surrounding electorates. http://www.theshovel.com.au/.../report-ranking-internet.../
LynBob Watson Ask him to provide funding for the relocation of the railway line from Repton to Glenreagh and use the same corridor for an expressway bypass, establish a major freight terminal on the line and distribute freight from the rail to the regional areas. This would be a major infrastructure project for the Coffs Coast, provide plenty of employment. The cost could be recouped by selling off the existing rail corridor. Tell Malcolm its time he looked at these type of big pictures and forget about appeasing the nutters in his organisation, also stop the constant Parliamentary point scoring looking for a headline. It's not making him look good
Louise Arthur Talk to him about reducing politicians costly lurks and perks. The day of entitlement is over. Cost cutting begins at the top. Tell him the Australian people are not stupid and we're sick and tired of it all.
Richard Garrels While I'm at it....how is it that you are a sitting member in the government of the day and you get a few hours with the Prime Minister to discuss issues in your electorate?....oh I know why, we are a safe seat......thanks for so much notice about any questions we might have. Champion effort.
Margaret Harrison My husband and I last visited his family in UK 35 years ago. We are going to visit in May but as I am on Disability Support I am only allowed 28 days overseas in any 12 months. His family are unable to visit us due to illness.A very expensive family reunion. Why has Prime Minister Turnbull been so harsh on us?
Robert Slapp A couple of things Luke. Decentralisation, it's a great thing for the country. Helps with higher unemployment rates in rural areas, helps the cost of living/home prices in capital city's, also promotes price growth in regional areas. Entices other industries to regional areas ( medical, retail etc etc) . Can not really see any real downside for our electorate. Can he please put a push on the health minister to get some more Dr's to come to the Bush? There is a desperate need for GP's.
Penny Page Hi Luke, can you please ask the PM on behalf of our 10yr old daughter and all the children and adults in the Cowper area (and the rest of Australia) that are Type 1 diabetics about CGM Subsidy. During the 2016 Federal Election, the Government committed $54 million over four years to subsidise continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology to assist children and young adults under 21 years of age who face extra challenges managing their type 1 diabetes. Eight months have now past since the election and still nothing!!. The Department of Health currently states "The Government, through the Department of Health, is continuing its work to consider this election commitment. While this work is well advanced, any decision of Government or commencement date has not been announced. " This is totally unsatisfactory on all levels.
Rebecca Hope Mr Turnbull, firstly , I voted for you!
We still have no mobile ph coverage. Only 20kms out of Bellingen at the top of the Kalang valley. Numerous power and landline outages with frequent extreme weather conditions leaves us totally isolated. Medical help cannot even be sought over the phone. Not only a dangerous situation but has proved to be life threatening. Eg. A neighbour died of a snake bite during a flood. Kalang residents need access to solid communications. NBN is inconsistent up here. ADSL relies on th landline and on electricity , both of which we lose regularly. Maybe a subsidised off grid , home storage system so we can rely on our own power to drive our own internet communication is a good option?
Jude Woods Mr Turnbull, you are an educated man, I can't understand your justification for the continued use of old dirty power production what is our true cost?
Please only quote peered reviewed scientific studies - even my 9 yr old can manipulate statistics to try justify his wants but I would love to see you read true scientific reviewed studies and explain to me why you are putting the financial backing of your party over the cries of the larger body of people they claim to represent - coal production seems cheap and nasty - even China is looking at renewables but Australia is being left behind is this technology - we will turn around and instead of selling coal to the world (making a profit for the selected power players in Australia), we will be buying clean energy from the rest of the world- costing ALL Australians now and in the future - our health, our environment, and our countries prosperity is at stake.
Hilda Shaw When is this government going to do something about Animal Cruelty and the terrible Puppy Mills that exist with thousands of dogs being kept in unimaginable cruelty. At least Victoria if trying to do something about this. Why not the rest of the country?
Elizabeth Patterson I would like to know when the Federal government is going to take a stand on gambling advertising at and during sporting events. It is such a worry that gambling in sport is being normalised for our children. Just as damaging as alcohol and cigarettes and they were banned a long time ago.
Rob Sanger Ask him why do we give Indonesia $600m pa when we don't have the money available and have to borrow it that's really bad budgeting and it doesn't make sense. Bear in mind that Indonesia spends $8b pa on its army.
Michael Maxwell Please ask the Prime Minister to stop attacking pensioners, the unemployed , those in our society that can least afford to be hurt any more. He cant expect the unemployed to get a job when there are so few jobs available.
Nav Navratil As our people's representative can you please ask why funding to front line Domestic and Family Violence Services is being cut, given our local statistics are in the top 10 of reported incidents of Domestic and Family Violence in the State, or is post just another political stunt to be seen to be looking after your constituents Luke.
Ross Ackland Why doesn't Australia farm hemp ? The strongest fibre in the world, 100% recyclebable & export all types of products. Clothes, rope, building products, shopping bags NOT PLASTIC etc. WAke up Australian politicians.
Trish Welsh Can the National Coalition work with the state Government to fund a true bypass of Coffs Harbour and not the proposed ring road that will devastate the thousands of residents in West Coffs with truck noise, as has happened on the northern beaches.
John Murray After the next national apology following from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Rape, what will Mr. Turnbull do to ensure that other Prime Ministers and Premiers aren't trotted out again and again, because of the foul abuses of the Churches and Child Welfare industry?
We've already had apologies to:
1. The Stolen Generation,
2. The Forgotten Australians,
3. Child Migrants,
4. Victims of adoption industry crimes.
Prime Minister, the apologies are starting to wear a bit thin. It really is time Governments stopped funding these criminals and started holding then responsible.
Joyce Ward Yesterday I spoke to a receptionist for an Orthopedic Surgeon In Coffs Harbour & she advised me that everybody needed to check their Private Health Covers as Doctors will not be paid for their fees by some Health Covers. Why are citizens who endeavour to support themselves with Private Health being targeted . This give no incentive to any citizen to try to support themselves & the Government ..while we see the free hand outs allocated to ones who are prepared to wait for surgery. We need positive answers to why stable management is not demonstrated by the PM .
Hamish Mackay last year I earned $38,000 and paid about $4,000 tax. Why is it that others who earn far more pay no tax? I had a taxi passenger who told me he works 4 jobs for $40,000 at a time when politicians were given a $40,000 pay rise. The tide is rising but the boats are staying on the bottom of the harbour.
Lynnie Robertson I feel like I'm watching Playschool. The tone is patronising