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Australia votes, for apathy

Australia votes, for apathy

Friday 1 July, 2016
We decide on Saturday, but the voices that grumble “they’re both the same” should know that apathy is a dangerous way to elect a leader.
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The Masked Liberal series on FridayMash

“One week to go, God help us,” a sentence hurled by my local newsagent by ways of a chuckle, when I was foolish enough to emerge from brown-carpeted hole chez Masked Lib to buy a pouch of tobacco from this purveyor of headlines. A man who you’d think, given his surroundings, would possess a view of the Australian political landscape beyond a roll of the eye, the handling of loose change and a request to take things “easy”.

Yeah, nah.

Since my most recent article last week, where I ate cheese before sleeping underneath an open window and had raging fever dreams of a world gone wrong when Trumpzilla trampled Canberra, I’ve started to notice something. The fear is real. No-one gives a fuck. And more than that, they’re proud of it. Ask anyone you know personally, who they’re going to vote for – save for the true believers, those who vote party, not issue (shifty eyes) – and you’ll learn no-one knows, and no-one cares. This Saturday just seems to be a Saturday like any other, save for an annoying 45 minute traipse to the local schoolhouse.

My partner and I, Fence Girl, were rolling down the street in our (her) ’64 (Toyota Camry valued at $6,400), when she queried when we would “have to implant our fingerprints on the neck of sweet Lady Justice” (her words), before blithely stating, “I don’t know who to vote for, they’re just as bad as each other.” Which is both a fair point, and also completed cacked. Because I half agreed with her, before the other half of the brain woke in fright, before reaching for the toaster to bathe with. Dreams do come true. And it’s horrifying.

masked

Image: IMDB (NB: The Masked Lib is an Andie Macdowell completist – Ed.)

I don’t blame Fence Girl, because she’s not the problem (although this is the first election we’ve been together for, so the jury is out on that one), she just represents the wide populace who have been scorched and no longer reach for the ointment to heal the burn. My super intuition suddenly tingled (an ability I earned when a young radioactive liberal bit me on the neck), that this complete lack of anything will define this election. If Turnbull granted rocket sleds for every citizen, we’d kick the side of them and ask, “What’s wrong with it?” The candidates may have just span dinner plates of the head of a midget. Same result. And, yes, while the Australian political landscape of the last four years has resembled Stalingrad more than, say, Eden, the other half of the blame resides with those reading these lines with apathy. Those who no longer care. The swing voter is dead. Long live the numb voter. Those, like “old mate” the newsagent, who have decided the uniform ignorance of “they’re the same” is indeed the truth, who will shuffle their feet into the booth this Saturday…boxes crossed, goosed by the hand of that threatening $50 fine, summoning the last reserves of a wrist destroyed by lethargy and a lack of knowledge, to select “whoever”.

If it even comes to that.

As I witnessed working at the AEC, someone exercised their democratic right to vote by transcribing the theme from Shaft on the ballot paper. The twangling, pseudo adult-movie slap bass (and how to accurately spell it) was far more important than the next years they’d have to live through.

I’m not going to tell you a) who to vote for or b) trumpet the awesome power of democracy, but I will say this: come Saturday, you will need to know – not just who you’re voting for, but why you’re voting for them.

As the Brexit recently taught us, there is a real danger in the process. Voting on impulse, or for whoever, will injure this country in the current climate. While we won’t destroy our economy and rip the country in twain like the British example, we will never escape the treadmill of spills and dissolutions. The quick removal of leaders, with substitutions of others to band-aid, amid dipping approval ratings, will be the path repeatedly tread. Paranoia from a rightie who lives in a cave and wears lycra on his face? Perhaps. But think back on the election. If you were a politician in this country, you’d probably rely on your party to vote for you, and not the legions of “meh” that make up the electorate, especially the pining youth of this Island. To most, the entire campaign has been an apathetic handjob, evidenced by the fact that the most recent preferred party poll stands at 51-49.

A week out and no-one is any more sure of anything than they were at the start of this schmozzle. Who’s to blame? Everybody. Us and Them. However, on Saturday we need to make a choice. And if the results of that choice have the same lackadaisical odour, I’m going to blame some of the people in this room. For come Saturday morning, there will be no plan B, no further apathetic avenue that will hold us.

Unless of course, we take the advice passed beyond the hairlip of the newsagent:

“Better off hurling a grenade in there. Sort it out right quick.”

Yeah.

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About this Series
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