8 days to go before the Australian public finish the interminable pre-poll plus postal plus on-the-day voting catastrophe created by requirement of mandatory voting in all elections. The argument seems to be that if everyone must vote then Australians should be given a wide window of time in which to vote. Maybe. If voting is mandatory then it must be important. If it’s important then people should get up and make the tiny effort to support their particular poison. Voting in person can be a pleasant social occasion for many and a chance to do a little simultaneous shopping. The downside to polling booth attendance is running the gauntlet through the many colourfully T-shirted party acolytes. Me included. Preferably, how-to-vote forms should be in discrete piles by the entry door and the choice is left to the voter to pick up the card of their preferred candidate without feeling pressured. If the oft-quoted figure of 20% of voters being undecided as they approach the booth is true then perhaps a well chosen slogan or quick chat can grab that vote but that leaves 80% of people being unnecessarily prevailed upon.
The ‘conservative’ major parties call up the same retired, rusted-on followers to politely hand out their how-to-vote cards. These folks appear to be proud nationalists and think that they are helping to keep our country safe from international intrusion, ie. ‘we’ decide our domestic policies. This is either an optimistic view or a head-in-the-sand position given our toady compliance with almost all US policies, both domestic and in particular, foreign.
Strangely, the ‘progressive’ parties are almost in lockstep with the tea and scones group on the ‘other’ side. There aren’t any young people at polling booths supporting their leftist parties. Many are working but many are unemployed, studying or working online, all of whom could surely spare a few hours to assist their cause, meet some people of a different political persuasion and learn a little about the political process. Why the reluctance to show some ‘boots on the ground’ support? Perhaps it’s thought to be a little ‘unAustralian’ to make a public political statement and then show an even deeper commitment by parading your passion within your community.
The indications are that there will be a continuing large turnout of pre-pollers through till the 21st May thus making the big day a relative disappointment. The uncommitted will sensibly wait and watch the possibility of one or more of the parties to self-immolate, making their choice easier. The others will make their life easy by voting early on a pleasant day and remain unengaged until the evening of the 21st.