The ABC will host a live one-hour televised debate between the NSW Premier Kristina Keneally and the Leader of the Opposition Barry O’Farrell at 7.30pm on Friday, March 18, just one week before voting day in the state election. The debate will be broadcast on the ABC’s new ‘7.30’ program.
Hosted by presenter and journalist Quentin Dempster, the debate will be broadcast on ABC1 (in NSW) and nationally on ABC News 24 at 7.30pm AEDT.
The ABC’s Director of News Kate Torney said, “I am delighted that we can facilitate this major engagement for New South Wales electors in prime time.”
After weeks of contentious discussion the leaders have just reached agreement with the ABC on the timing for the debate.
Quentin Dempster said, “March the 18th was our preference from the start. It should be about the last word from the leaders before voters go to the polls.
All cards and policy platforms will be on the table by the 18th and it should be the climax of the campaign”.
Premier Keneally originally offered February 11.
At no stage did Mr O’Farrell decline debating the Premier but in spite of his offering alternative dates, February 25 and March 4, no consensus could then be reached.
“I am delighted that both leaders have now accepted our suggestion to engage with voters at the very time they are thinking about their decisions. With the polls indicating there may be a change of government in New South Wales the debate promises to be dynamic, informative and intense. It will cover the economy, transport, planning, health, education, the environment, law and order, service delivery and governance,” Mr Dempster said.
Visit the ABC’s Election website for Antony Green’s Election Preview and all the information on electorates and candidates, leading up to NSW Votes 2011.