Saturday was a celebration of democracy all over Australia. After weeks of media mogul Rupert Murdoch exhorting voters to kick the present government out, those who read his newspapers have done just that. Sadly they have voted for personal comfort over the environment, and any show of humanity towards the refugees reaching our shores. Education will be cut, environmental constraints dismantled, mining of all kinds including fracking given the go-ahead on agricultural land, and the taxation system will continue to favour the rich. I can’t bear to tell you any more, but obviously the majority of Australians want these outcomes. One journalist wrote yesterday that no doubt many all over the nation are hoping and praying that our new Prime Minister Tony Abbott will not keep his promises, although he makes a big show of saying he will. So now we are the ‘mean’ country, our concerns being purely self-interest. We were so concerned about the outcome that we volunteered to help The Greens at a polling booth, and also the non-profit organisation GetUp at another booth, where a team was handing out score-cards showing where parties stood on various important topics.
We arrived early, and there was never a rush, a very low-key polling place to be given! Only about half the voters took the how-to-vote handouts, some freely admitting that they knew how to vote informal … a protest about the dire state of politics in Australia at present. Sadly there is often fear and loathing directed towards the Greens, by those who feel they are being prevented from fishing or hunting wherever they like, or those who resent the humanitarian stance on refugees, or the equal marriage laws, and so on. Only one man actually abused us, saying his grandfather would be turning in his grave to think there were Muslims in the country! “And it is all your fault!” he yelled. Don’t know where he got that idea. Others were happy to take our handout, saying “good luck!”
After our 8-12 stint at Mogo we headed home for lunch and a little time with our feet up. S went back to Moruya to show a garden group over SAGE, but I drove south to Narooma, the only GetUp action anywhere near us. Amazingly it was organised by a Year 10 student, Ben, who hopes to be a politician when he completes his studies. Kira was also in year 10 at the local high school, but all the other volunteers seemed to be between 40 and 70! So for a few hours I handed out scorecards and information to curious voters, hoping some of them might actually read it before they made there choices. My feet were sore last night, but I felt a lot better than if I had done nothing …. and I will do it again in four years time.