Shorten to answer Bendigo's questions

SPOTLIGHT: Bill Shorten fronts the media in Bendigo in April with Lisa Chesters. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

SPOTLIGHT: Bill Shorten fronts the media in Bendigo in April with Lisa Chesters. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

WHAT are the questions you think opposition leader Bill Shorten should be answering?

Bendigo has the chance to put the tricky topics to the outspoken Labor leader during a 90 minute question and answer session at La Trobe University Bendigo next Wednesday.

Mr Shorten told the Bendigo Advertiser he was "coming to Bendigo to listen, not lecture".

"People living and working in Bendigo and the surrounding area face unique challenges and I want to better understand that," Mr Shorten said.

"I genuinely believe that Labor should be a champion for the regions, and Bendigo has a great local champion in Lisa Chesters, but the way we do that is by engaging more.

"I think people want to hear about an alternative vision for this country which includes a vision for communities like Bendigo."

The visit will be Mr Shorten's first stop in Bendigo since he sat around a dinner table with seven local pensioners, and a media pack, in April this year.

Whether it's broken promises, taxation, refugee policy or the role of the union movement in the future of Labor, no topics will be off the table.

Mr Shorten said he expects the Federal Budget to feature heavily in discussions.

"The conservatives certainly take the regions for granted but they fail to grasp the financial pressures on families, the need for decent infrastructure and good job opportunities," he said.

The evening will begin with a brief speech from Mr Shorten, before opening up the floor for questions.

Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said "Labor really wants to listen to the community".

"The forums, like the one in Bendigo, will help shape Labor's policy in the lead up to the next election," she said.

A Conversation with Bill Shorten and Labor runs from 5.30 to 7pm at the Visual Arts Centre, La Trobe University Bendigo.

The event is free, but bookings are essential with 100 places available. Visit www.trybooking.com/FPQN to book your place.

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