Daniel Andrews and Matthew Guy debate on Sky News People’s Forum: Victorian state election

Smug moment Dan Andrews dismisses concerns that Melbourne’s CBD is dead and Victoria is on its knees crippled by debt – as he is savaged in fiery election debate in front of 100 normal punters

  • Daniel Andrews and Opposition leader Matthew Guy have gone head-to-head
  • Political rivals answered questions from undecided voters in People’s Forum
  • They clashed over claims Melbourne’s CBD was dead and Victoria was in debt
  • Leaders answered questions about healthcare, roads, education and transport 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Opposition leader Matthew Guy have clashed over voters concerns that Melbourne‘s CBD is dead and the state is crippled by debt as they went head-to-head in a fiery election debate. 

The political rivals took unscripted questions from undecided voters on Tuesday night – just four days before Victorians will cast their vote in the state election. 

They quickly butted heads over the city’s post-Covid recovery after undecided voter Stuart claimed Melbourne was lagging behind other Australian capital cities. 

Mr Guy said Melburnians needed initiatives like capped public transport to venture into the CBD while Mr Andrews disagreed and said the city was flourishing.  

‘This is a question for both of you. What are you going to do to get Melbourne’s CBD back to where it should be? Which is a thriving city,’ Stuart asked the rivals. 

Mr Guy said his party had designed a CBD revival package which would include a $2 flat fare on public transport to help bring people back. 

‘We must get people back, we must encourage them to come back to the city, tat’s what our CBD revival strategy does,’ the Liberal leader told the crowd. 

‘Melbourne can be that vibrant city it’s been in the past and that comes down to initiatives, which we have put forward to everyone.’

However, Mr Andrews disagreed with Stuart and said Melbourne was thriving. 

‘Our bars are full, our restaurants are full, getting a hotel room is really hard, we’ve had the biggest Grand Prix in the history of the sport earlier this year and the T20 Word Cup and broke all sorts of records,’ he said. 

‘I’ve got Billy Joel coming here, sold out in minutes, and half that crowd is not from Victoria, there’s a lot happening. Is there a lot more to do, of course there is.’

Premier Danial Andrews and Opposition Leader Matthew Guy have gone head-to-head while answering questions from undecided voters in the electorate of Box Hill

Premier Danial Andrews and Opposition Leader Matthew Guy have gone head-to-head while answering questions from undecided voters in the electorate of Box Hill

Mr Andrews (left) 022 People’s Forum on Tuesday night) said Melbourne was thriving post-Covid however Mr Guy (right) said people needed to be encouraged back into the city

Mr Andrews was then asked about his commitment to reducing state debt.  

Undecided voter David said he was lucky to be comfortably retired but was concerned about how government spending would impact his grandchildren.

Mr Andrews told him debt would have to be repaid for ‘generations to come’ and assured him that spending would ensure growth. 

‘This will soon be the biggest city in our nation and that’s what we need,’ he said. 

‘If you borrow to build and make the place bigger, make the economy bigger, then that’s money well spent.’ 

Earlier in the forum, Sky News host Kieran Gilbert asked the rivals how they planned to unite Victoria after a tough few years and a global pandemic. 

Mr Andrews said he offered a ‘positive and optimistic plan’ and told voters he would work hard to deliver on his promises. 

The premier said he had been ‘getting things done’ over the last eight years and still had a big agenda with ‘many things to finish and so much more to do’. 

The forum vote ultimately gave Mr Andrews a narrow edge, scoring the debate 38 per cent to 34 per cent in his favour with 28 per cent undecided. 

The political rivals took unscripted questions from undecided voters on Tuesday night, just four days before Victorians will cast their vote in the state election

The political rivals took unscripted questions from undecided voters on Tuesday night, just four days before Victorians will cast their vote in the state election

Forum attendees asked the leaders about the rising cost of living, as well as timely issues like housing affordability, health, education, transport and roads

A voter asked whether Mr Andrews would remove a Labor ‘misinformation campaign’ that stated gas can only be removed through fracking. 

The ads on social media claim the Liberals will overturn the state’s constitutional ban on fracking if they are elected in the November 26 election. 

Mr Andrews denied it was misinformation and stood by the claim he said was backed by scientists, that fracking was the only way to extract gas reserves. 

‘The chief scientist has made it very clear … that there are no reserves of gas known or probable that can be extracted onshore using conventional methods,’ he said, 

‘The only way you can deliver a ‘gas-led future’ is to frack. That’s just a fact.’

But Mr Guy said another report from the chief scientist found up to 830 petajoules of onshore gas was ready and waiting to be unearthed through convention means.

‘I’m not here for petty name-calling. I’ve told (the media) so many times at press conferences we’re not going to frack,’ he said.

The Liberal leader said he didn’t want to be drawn into a fight but the premier pushed on.

‘It’s not an argument. It’s a debate and it’s a pretty important point,’ Mr Andrews said.

Mr Andrews said he offered Victoria a 'positive and optimistic plan' and vowed to work hard to deliver on his promises, including keeping people in work

Mr Andrews said he offered Victoria a ‘positive and optimistic plan’ and vowed to work hard to deliver on his promises, including keeping people in work

Mr Andrews told voters he had been 'getting things done' over the last eight years and still had a big agenda with 'many things to finish and so much more to do'

Mr Andrews told voters he had been ‘getting things done’ over the last eight years and still had a big agenda with ‘many things to finish and so much more to do’

Matthew Guy (pictured) said the upcoming election would be one of the most important in the state's history and said he planned to 'restore confidence in the state'

Matthew Guy (pictured) said the upcoming election would be one of the most important in the state’s history and said he planned to ‘restore confidence in the state’

In his opening address, Mr Guy vowed to invest in healthcare and highlighted integrity and reducing the cost pressures for small business. 

He said the upcoming election would be one of the most important in the state’s history and said he planned to ‘restore confidence in the state’. 

With just four minutes to spare, the leaders were told to ask each other a question, with Mr Andrews deciding to ask his opponent about healthcare. 

‘Why do you continue to run a commentary on our health system that simply ignores the fact that our nurses, ambo’s, midwives, the whole team, have worked so hard during a one in 100 event, it’s like you discount we had a pandemic,’ he asked.

Mr Andrews asked if they could agree that healthcare staff needed to be congratulated and given more ‘support to recover’. 

In his opening address, Mr Guy (pictured with his wife Renae) vowed to invest in healthcare and highlighted integrity and reducing the cost pressures for small business

In his opening address, Mr Guy (pictured with his wife Renae) vowed to invest in healthcare and highlighted integrity and reducing the cost pressures for small business

Premier Daniel Andrews (right) and Opposition leader Matthew Guy (left) have gone head-to head in a fiery debate as they answer burning questions from everyday Victorians

Premier Daniel Andrews (right) and Opposition leader Matthew Guy (left) have gone head-to head in a fiery debate as they answer burning questions from everyday Victorians

‘Daniel your government has broken the heath system, you’ve had eight years and I intend to fix the damage you’ve done to it,’ Mr Guy fired back. 

‘Why for eight years has your government adopted such a combative and divisive style when at this point we need a premier who can unite us not divide us.’ 

Mr Andrews told his opponent Labor had a positive and optimistic plan and said he didn’t make ‘popular decisions, but the right decisions’. 

In their closing remarks, Mr Guy said Victoria needed to be united and promised he would focus on restoring the state’s healthcare system if he was elected. 

Mr Andrews said he was asking for a third term in government so he could continue to collaborate with Victorian nurses and paramedics and introduce free kinder.  

The forum vote ultimately gave Mr Andrews (pictured with his wife Catherine) a narrow edge, scoring the debate 38 per cent to 34 per cent in his favour with 28 per cent undecided

The forum vote ultimately gave Mr Andrews (pictured with his wife Catherine) a narrow edge, scoring the debate 38 per cent to 34 per cent in his favour with 28 per cent undecided

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