No hard feelings towards MP Tony Pasin at Murray Bridge forum

Member for Barker Tony Pasin speaks at a forum in Murray Bridge on Wednesday night. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
Member for Barker Tony Pasin speaks at a forum in Murray Bridge on Wednesday night. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Murray Bridge's voters still support Liberal MP Tony Pasin despite the recent leadership debacle in Canberra, if the atmosphere at a public forum on Wednesday was any indication.

At Murray Bridge Community Club, more than 50 people remained quiet and attentive as Mr Pasin described the personal impact of the two leadership spills.

The feeling during the week had been comparable to the death of a grandparent, the MP said, and still kept him from eating or sleeping.

He described the early adjournment of parliament on August 24, because the federal government was in such disarray that it could not answer questions from opposition MPs, as "the most embarassing moment of my life".

He added that he had given up any ambition of becoming Prime Minister after seeing what the past two holders of that office had endured, though he would still love to be in the nation's leadership team.

Soon after his story ended, an audience member called out "you've still got my vote", to the applause of most of those present.

For the rest of the night, the discussion centred on policy.

Audience members asked about parental discipline, adoption and drug testing for welfare recipients, all of which Mr Pasin said were needed.

He even suggested Murray Bridge would be a suitable place for further testing of the cashless welfare card currently being trialled in Ceduna and other remote communities.

Welfare recipients cannot use the card to buy alcohol or gamble, or withdraw more than 20 per cent of their benefits in cash.

"If you're abusing drugs, you're not employment ready," he said.

"I don't think your hard-earned taxes should be spent on people not using them on the necessities of life."

However, he said it was unfair that Murray Bridge had been singled out as a centre for illicit drug use when the problem existed in all country towns.

On power prices, he said Australia should honour its commitment to the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions as cheaply as it could, because the cost of power was a more significant problem.

"People on the other side of the world can't rule Australia," he said.

"We've got to have an emissions and a reliability target; what's wrong with a price target?"

The long wait for aged care places, salaried GPs in hospitals, the National Broadband Network, phone reception, anti-trust legislation, nuclear waste and highways were among other topics which came up.

Mr Pasin promised to write letters or lobby on behalf of several constituents.

"If anybody has any problems with federal government agencies, come to us," he said.

"We're happy to help solve those problems."

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