I came to politics late. This was partly a tendency towards the anarchic, partly the fact that I spent most of the ten years after I turned 18 out of the country, and 99 % laziness cloaked as disenfranchisement. Also it was in the days before everyone had to be in an internet café once a week, or die trying. I had no idea what was going on until Pauline Hanson. That’s enough to jolt anyone awake. My best friend always accused me of being a fairweather Queenslander – one that arrived after Joh and before Pauline.
Turning on the tv in a Belfast B & B in November 1999 I saw the ugly cragged face of Bob Hawke fill the screen, and wondered if it was the apocalypse. It turned out just to be that most misguided of referendums http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_republic_referendum,_1999 . I have never forgiven the powers-that-be for scheduling it just after my mother’s birthday. She should have got a republic AND a cakey for her 55th.
Election 2001. Kim Beazley fucks it all up dramatically.http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/how_tampa_became_a_turning_point/ I somehow had been banned from voting because I had missed too many elections and wasn’t where I had said I lived for a long time. My sister voted at Liston, population circa 160 enrolled, and where I now live, because she was still enrolled in NSW. We thought Liston looked like something out of McGahan’s ‘Last Drinks’, which we were both fighting over at the time.
Election 2004. I think this is the first time I threatened to move to NZ. It would have been my 4th wedding anniversary, too, had I still been married. Went to the Townsville Showground Markets. Some guy was playing Redgum and making derogatory remarks about the Greens, which I though was a bit of a dichotomy.
Election 2007 aka Kevin ’07. Nearest and dearest all desert the Greens and vote Labor. I plan to divorce them all. Meg, Joe, Andrew – I mean you. Slightly mollified by Maxine, who I love, pinching Howard’s seat.
Election 2010. Helping my late and dear friend Kate hand out how-tos for the Greens. A freezing cold morning with a howling gale. Dogs wearing green t-shirts. First election day with the Owl – I try and clarify my position but the best I can do is ‘if you vote Liberal it is over between us’. I was one of the few people in Australia that actually liked the result.
I’ve said all the humanitarian eco-system loving stuff ‘til I’ve bored you all rigid. Most of you have kids. All of you love to breathe air. Think about that when you vote.