So the day of reckoning arrives, Saturday 2 July to say my faith is and has wavered is an understatement when it comes to putting ones trust in a political party and perform your civic duty to vote. For years I’ve been a faithful Liberal supporter …
9am, I head for Miranda North Public School, 4 minutes drive from home. Upon walking up to the front gates, around 50 meters, I’m accosted on my left by larger than life images of the federal division I belong to Cook and Scott Morrison. And just in case I missed it and needed another reminder, that point was further reiterated every three meters with every step, Scott Morrison smiling down at me. Rest assured I’m not likely to forget the name Scott Morrison by the time I enter the front door. Truth be told, I’m somewhat seething inside at the mindless waste of tax payers money at tangible advertising for these campaign posters and boards that will likely be discard 48 hours post election day. One or two is more than sufficient. Not ten or twelve. Less is sometimes more.
As if a few defining images are sufficient to convince one of all the parties stand for and the weight of the importance of your vote. If only just a fraction of campaign advertising money could have been saved and used in areas where funds are short and in desperate need. Areas that affect all Australians; hospital care, homeless, transport, medicare. Here is a better use of tax payers money.
Entering the gates, I’m immediately surrounded by 9 individuals shoving yet more wasted money in the form of pamphlets into my hands. I bite my tongue in wanting to point out the fact that I should have by now done some homework on how this process works and shouldn’t need reminding literally 2 minutes before I’m actually suppose to do this. Majority of us have surely been talking to friends and family about the parties being represented. We’re reminded constantly in TV adds, on social media. There’s almost no reason why we shouldn’t have some insight into what at least two or three parties stand for. And if we’re being totally honest, the 5 minutes you have prior to having to vote, does one really think you’re gong to get a totally informed decision efficient enough to cast a vote based purely on what you’ve literally just read on an advertisement which is designed to seduce, coerce and convince. Mostly false promises. They’re not going to expose their not-so-stand-up history on a pamphlet. No siree.
I also strongly feel the need to want to point out that the Greens, some of which are wearing a TShirt emphasising the fact, are, um, emphasising torn down, mulched trees disguised in the form of pretty coloured inks and fancy fonts on paper. Oodles of paper. Not sure how this goes towards cementing their motto in saving the environment? And I watch several people before me grab at least 7 sheets, walk into the hall, check in, vote and walk straight out. Not once having even glanced at the pamphlets they’ve aimlessly taken and soon to be discarded. It just seems like such a sad sorry waste.
I make my way to the counter to check in and get my piece of paper to contribute to history and as the process evolves, I go through a few surprisingly shocking realisations, with underlying humours tones.
First being, the young lady trying to locate my surname in her monstrous bound journal (yes, an amazing massive book with thousands of names in teeny tiny print), looking for my surname, gets stuck at ‘Si’. For about 30 seconds I wait while she toys with the alphabet. I see confusion brimming all over her face as she pages backwards then forwards. I silently point out in my head, ‘Sp’ comes waaaay after ‘Si’.
So again, I spell out my surname, slowly this time. S-P-I-T-Z-E-R. Imagine if I’d opted to sprout Sierra, Papa, India, Tango, Zula, Echo, Romeo instead… oh the poor darling. Sweet little thing. She looks at me, a little smile alights her face and turns the page again with uncertainty. I realize it’s a big book and a whole heap of names, but come on, just head to the back of the alphabet. ‘Sp’, it’s somewhere toward the end. I encourage her by saying ‘a few more, further, some more’. Low and behold, together we finally make it to Spitzer. Yes this was a humorous exchange, but I’ll admit to being somewhat surprised. An alphabet.
She looks at my name, looks at me and asks me where I live. I answer Miranda. She then spells out my entire address and I nod where she happily proceeds to check me off the list. No from of identification need be produced to actually confirm I am who I claim to be and live at the address she read to me, of which I simply noded confirmation. One stranger to another and the solemn nod of ones head, it seems is sufficient to confirm legal identity. Shocking.
My next shock comes in the form of some monstrously long Senate Ballot paper. Seriously, I’m astounded and she then explains about voting above and below the lines. I look at her and say ‘do you really think I’m feeling inclined to waste time numbering every box below the line, that’s absurd.’ Ok, I feel only marginally bad at my rudeness as she’s momentarily stunned into silence. But come on, this really is ridiculous.
I head to a voting booth only to have a silent chuckle in realizing my ballot paper is literally 4,maybe 5 times the width of my booth and the sweet old man adjacent to me looks at me with a big grin on his face motioning to the length of this ballot paper. I smile and shake my head in understanding. This keeps getting better.
I have a small confession to make. Senate vote No 1 to 3 above the line easily done. But I run into an obstacle deciding on my remainder 3 parties, all minority. So I did the next best thing I could think of. Picked my favourite line from one of my favourite songs and counted the words. Each word of the line represented one party and so on until I’d reached the last word and whomever I landed on, that’s my vote. Not very intelligent I realise this. But hey, I wasn’t exactly left with trust and thought provoking options.
My last grind concerning elections. We’ve moved into 2016. In a day and age where our very lives are intertwined in a digital signature, shouldn’t voting be the same. Log on to a myGov account or create an app. Cast your vote. Log off. No need to leave the house, queue up, put pencil to paper (which already questions the legality of this vote) and minimize the vast waste of printed brochures handed out and discarded by voters as quickly as they were received, containing a babble of false promises. Let’s move with the times. An online vote should not only be reserved for the few who are physically unable to make it to a polling booth on election day. I’m not saying abolish in-person voting, but let’s have the best of both worlds and give the rest of us an option of electronic voting. Efficiency is key.
On a brighter note, I would like to express my delight as it seems I had a good polling station in terms of wait times. From the vast number of people I’ve spoken to post voting and perusing social media, it seems many waited for an obscene amount of time to vote. Queue upon queue upon queen. Me, well I’ve gotta give Miranda a little salute, as I waited all of 4 minutes. It could be due to the fact I arrived around 9am and thought I’d beat the rush. Probably.
Now to await a verdict …