Leaders’ forum no turn-on in Sydney’s west

Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott could find it tough getting their message out to key western Sydney voters in Wednesday night’s people’s forum.


Because they don’t appear too interested in tuning in.

Terry Simpkins, 75, says he’d rather watch a DVD than sit through the event, which will be broadcast from the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane.

“It won’t be on my television,” the Penrith resident said on one of the suburb’s main shopping strips.

“I’ve got a good collection of DVDs so I’ll whack one of those on.”

The retiree said he didn’t need to watch another debate to figure out how he’d vote.

“I’ll vote Liberal. Labor seem to have spent a hell of a lot of money and got us into a lot of debt.”

Down the street, local civil servant Kate said she’d be voting Labor because she was worried about the coalition cuts to the public sector.

“I’m concerned they’ll cut a lot of services, especially the public service where I work,” she told AAP.

She also wasn’t planning to watch the prime minister and the opposition leader face off on pay TV channel Sky News.

“I saw the other debate – I didn’t think it was very good,” she said on her way to work.

Penrith sits in the seat of Lindsay, which is held by Labor’s David Bradbury on a slim margin of 1.1 per cent.

The Liberal’s candidate is Fiona Scott, whom Mr Abbott controversially described as having “sex appeal” on a recent campaign stop in the seat.

Opinion polls show the ALP has fallen behind the coalition in the region.

Another Penrith local, Paul Fountain, said he’d probably vote for the coalition because of its record on healthcare.

But the leaders’ debate wasn’t on his radar either.

“What debate?” he said.

The first debate on ABC 1 came in at 12th place on the TV ratings, with 708,000 viewers, with Mr Rudd copping criticism for his use of notes.