Unlike my Australian housemates, I wasn’t able to vote, which is no bad thing considering a) I’ve been travelling for a while now and I’m totally disconnected from anything political and b) Australian politics in particular are foreign to me. Totally.
Well, I’ve had some introduction, I suppose. Like the note that appeared on my sharehouse sideboard the night before the election that stated to anyone who cared to read:
Can’t wait for Abbott, it’s gonna be great!
Someone else in the house had cared enough, not just to read the note but to add their own two cents worth:
Yeah Abbott, your daughters are so HOT!
Both of these statements – alongside some preparatory listening to Triple J radio – opened up a conversation about the September 7th election between Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd. We talked a little about internet speeds (seemingly a HUGE focus), about Abbott’s anti-gay marriage stance, about Abbott’s penchant for wearing Speedos and about his ‘I’m the guy with the not bad looking daughters’ gaffe. Like the pre-election polls, our conversation predominantly favoured Abbott (whether we favoured Abbott was, however, a totally different thing).
The next day, everyone (apart from me and other travellers and expats and people who were prepared to pay a fine for non-attendance) went to makeshift voting booths set up in schools and community centres around the country. It was a beautifully sunny Saturday in northern New South Wales so getting in and out of the polling stations ASAP was a priority. Voting had to be done but no-one wanted a wasted day. D-man managed it in under five minutes. Then he went and checked the surf.
No one was particularly surprised when Abbott was later proclaimed the winner of the election race. And oh so quickly, away from the TV and newspapers, life continued. I haven’t again heard mention of the election in my share house. Only the note remains, now stuck to the fridge with an added comment:
Abbott for pope
If I’m still loving the Australian life by the time the next elections come around, I will hopefully be a sworn in citizen, ready to make my vote count. And between now and then I promise that I will read and listen and learn so that my understanding of Australian politics is secure enough for me to make a properly informed choice.
For now, though, I’ll keep travelling and living Australia.
- Abbott creeps out Big Brother (smh.com.au)
- Australian expats make their voice heard in federal election (australiantimes.co.uk)
- London Aussies urged to cast their votes at Australia House (australiantimes.co.uk)
- Australian election count on course for record number of informal votes (theguardian.com)