I’ve been non-existent in the blog-o-sphere for a while now, primarily because the time I had set aside has been taken up by my new hobby, federal politics. Not a phrase I expected to be writing either, because generally speaking the state of federal politics in Australia isn’t inspiring, although like a train smash you can’t help but watch it unfold.
I was keen to get a peek at the system from the inside, and when the opportunity came up to join a volunteer program for the only Green’s MP in the federal parliament it was too good a chance to miss. For someone writing a blog based on issues of sustainability supporting the Green’s is pretty much a fait accompli, but having to consciously reflect on why I vote Green, and to then share this reasoning with complete strangers has been a bit of an eye opener. The fact that the current government decided to call an early election and pitch my eager but inexperienced self unexpectedly into a federal campaign was a complete bonus.
Yes ladies and gentleman, I have become one of ‘those’ people. I turn up on your doorstep on a sunny Saturday morning with clip board in hand, and just as you’re starting to think about the options for a fun filled weekend of debauchery and excess, are sidetracked by a super sincere and enthusiastic member of the public enquiring as to your political viewpoint and the issues that matter to you. Unsurprisingly the vast majority of you aren’t home. Hello! There is a federal election happening people, “Keep Calm and Keep at Home” should be your mantra from this point forward, otherwise anyone could get elected in this country, yes I’m looking at you Ricky Muir.
What has most impressed me about the Australian electorate so far is their capacity for quick thinking. I don’t want to give anyone ideas but the range of diversionary tactics has been quite impressive, although the give away is the complete look of horror on your face as you open the door and realise that I am not a welcome friend/lover/pizza delivery. The most audacious approach, and not one I could successfully pull off myself, is to pretend that no one is knocking on the door. There are a surprisingly large amount of audibly active households who ignore the plaintive sound of my door-knocking or bell ringing. Beyond that the time poor explanations are sound but not always supported by visible evidence. If I had a dollar for every person who was ‘just leaving for work’, ‘too busy studying’, ‘on Skype with my family’, or ‘changing the baby’s nappy’ I’d be able to pay my children their pocket money on a more regular basis. In many respects though I appreciate your attempt to let me down easy, as if nothing in the world would have made you happier than to have a chat, but the universe had sadly devised to keep us apart.
In comparison there is a small percentage of Australians’ who have no compunction in making it clear that they would rather walk on sharp blood letting objects for many, many hours than share a thought or two on the state of the nation. I appreciate your honesty, if not the the door closing forcefully in my direction. Equally, there is small percentage of enthusiastic, communicative, and open residents who enjoy a chat about whats going on in the world and how to go about fixing the things that frustrate them. To these people I say thank you – my faith in humanity is restored each and every time you stop to meaningfully engage with a complete stranger on your door step (I bet the Mormon’s just love you too).
And to the comfortably retired curmudgeon who’s chief concern was maintaining his superannuation funds in the face of a) lazy, stupid and entitled young people aka “welfare bludgers”, b) “millions of refugee’s” flooding into Australia, c) “Do-gooders” like me, and d) “socialist loopy’s like Bernie Sanders” I salute you for having the courage to fiercely resist all of the changes that have occurred in the world since 1989. Let me know how that works out for you.