THERE were moments of clarity and moments of farcical vaudeville at the 'Meet the Candidates' night on Tuesday, but overall it was a worthwhile event for the 150-odd people who made it down to The Q.
Political candidate and small businessman Andrew Thaler used it as an opportunity to boost his otherwise very small profile by protesting the night's focus on the 'big four' candidates.
He chose to sit on the stage instead of in the crowd with the rest of the fringe candidates, declaring 'I brought my own jug', before filling it with water from the main candidates table. It was an oddball stunt, but effective in terms of increasing his overall impact on attendees.
What sort of impact he made though might be less positive. He spent a large part of his limited time in the opening address section attacking the Greens, hardly the big vision statement needed to wrest Eden-Monaro away from the major parties.
And then after about an hour sitting quietly on the stage, playing with his phone, he interrupted Mike Kelly to shout 'that's a lie' when Dr Kelly spoke about a deal he'd negotiated to import wind turbine parts through the port of Eden rather than through Wollongong.
When it later turned out it wasn't a lie - Kelly addressed Thaler's accusation in devastating detail - the allegation wasn't retracted, nor was an apology issued. Nor does Mr Thaler seem to think calling people liars is very offensive. He does it with monotonous regularity.
Check out his tweets to Mayor Tim Overall this week, which prompted Cr Overall to respond "Your abuse of virtually all involved only serves to discredit you and your cause."
Mr Thaler responded "when I am elected Tim... You know what... There will be no chair when you come to see me in my office. #karma."
Putting that sideshow aside, it was Dr Kelly who 'won' this particular debate, although there were less than 15 swinging voters in the audience to be won (moderator Ross Solly called for a show of hands of those who's minds were yet to be made up).
At the end of the night, Solly allowed each candidate the opportunity to ask one other candidate a single question. Dr Kelly played this card deftly, setting up Peter Hendy to name a single project in Eden-Monaro that he'd fund in Government.
Mr Hendy's response to "watch this space" was the clincher.
Had he responded by playing the fiscally responsible card (which had previously been greeted with several 'hear hears'), he might have come through clean.
Instead it was Dr Kelly who looked like the man with the plan. But there's a long time still to go in the campaign. So as Mr Hendy says, watch this space.
Congratulations to Queanbeyan City Council for hosting this event. It was well attended, the audience was engaged, and for the most part candidates answered questions directly and honestly.