Inverell residents were given an opportunity to ask questions to five of the eight candidates running for an upcoming federal election on Friday evening.
Climate change and the future of renewable energy was a hot topic, along with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and upskilling regional Australia.
Current New England MP Barnaby Joyce, The Nationals, made his voice heard at the first and only candidate forum he has attended so far during the campaign trail.
Joining Mr Joyce on the panel was Christian Democratic Party's Julie Collins, independents Adam Blakester and Natasha Leger and United Australia Party's Cindy Duncan.
Apologies were sent from Labor's Yvonne Langenberg, The Greens' Tony Lonergan and independent Rob Taber.
After opening statements from each candidate question time got underway. The first was "what are three reasons why you deserve the title of honourable member for New England?"
As a christian Ms Collins said she always endeavoured to be honest, have integrity and to work for the people.
"I am hardworking, have been a volunteer for 10 years and I am respectful to all cultures and people."
Mr Blakester highlighted his commitment to working in an "incredibly open, transparent and accountable way".
Ms Leger said integrity carried through "your entire life".
"I enjoy people and love listening to what they have to say. I'm the first to critique myself and make improvements."
Meanwhile, Mr Joyce said honour resided in service to people. "Three times an independent review of political offices found our office came first because we put people first," he said.
Ms Duncan said she had a strong party behind her.
"But I also believe in compromise. We must listen to each other, learn from one another and have total respect. It's about the people of New England and we cannot afford to have tunnel vision and division," she said.
A local business owner then quizzed candidates about the government giving out "freebies" with tax-payer dollars.
Mr Blakester took the mic saying "as an independent I think there is a stereotype we make a wish list of promises but as an accountant I am incredibly careful."
"My view is we need to sort out the tape red, green and a new one I've named magenta which is all the people stuff."
As hosts of the evening, Inverell Chamber of Commerce recorded a live-stream on Facebook which is still available to watch.