Trial by Media! Elect by Social Media?

Well just when you thought it was safe to go to prepoll voting! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO Don’t do it, run, runaway now!

I use to be one of those people who just marched straight ahead avoiding any eye contact and hoping I didn’t need to sidestep or punch anyone who got in my way. I was (and in all honesty I still am) the kind of person who believed that if by election day when you walked into that polling booth, if you didn’t know to whom you were going to cast your vote then you may as well just leave it blank rather than make the irresponsible decision of numbering in order. It’s lazy voting. Yet there I was volunteering to hand out those most annoying how to vote cards at prepoll because my friend, bless her precious heart, let me convince her to run for council because I wasn’t eligible to (and in my condition I really have no business taking ratepayers money to only turn up when I’m having a good day).

My day was already hampered by the unexpected delivery of a surrogate grandchild to mind but I figured hey, if people can see I’m distracted by a baby then they won’t talk to me right? HA! NO ONE loves babies more than politicians. Naturally Miss1 was the star of the show and everyone was more interested in her than me but it meant that people were NICE to me and I just find that really weird.

Meanwhile, as all the candidates and their volunteers are gathered together under a marquee singing Kumbaya (not really singing) the first thing I noticed was the lack of visible access. Did you expect any less of me dahlings!? Here in the very small and obscure old building car park between the Coffee Club and KFC at Strathpine are two makeshift disability parking bays nearest the ramp access. Problem is when you drive into the car park you can’t tell it is there for all the Teletubbies standing in the way. Yes, I said Teletubbies. That’s what they look like in all their different colours bopping up and down squawking “Which Division? Which Division?” before you even get out of the car. Someone then announces which division you are so that you only get the correct coloured Teletubbies running at you.

teletubbies in the disability parking
Candidates and volutneers standing in the disability parking bays

Of course my first reaction was to squawk back at them to get the hell out of the way of the disability parking so that people can see where the access is! And on that note someone then decided it was time to move those A-Frames partially blocking the ramp. In between the showers of rain and the smothering humidity while I was chasing a baby I was really useless as a hander outerer but I was there in colour to dance with the Teletubbies and be entertained.

I popped in today as I was returning from a Centrelink appointment (we all know how much I love Centrelink appointments) and rather than use up valuable parking there I parked next door intending to get a coffee on my way out after offering if anyone wanted something. Parking was scarce in that complex too and to my disgust as I drove round and round and round a dude in a slick black ute parked in the ONLY available disability parking bay leaving me driving round and round and round until a regular parking space became available that luckily was slightly wider than average and allowed me to get out of the car without too much difficulty. You know what. Just because you might be driving round looking for parking it doesn’t make it excusable to use disability parks without a permit. You drive around until a normal park becomes available just like I had to because you can use those without risk of injuring yourself further unlike people like myself who DO have a disability parking permit.

Black ute parked in a disability parking bay with no permit
Black ute parked in a disability parking bay with no permit

Anyway, I have learned that Teletubbies are similar to the pre Gremlin creatures, the Mogwai. If you get them wet they multiply! It seems after standing in the rain last week that is what happened. They multiplied! There were more of them than last week and now Mayoral candidates were out there trying to win those last minute votes.

Candidates and Volunteers handing out how to vote cards at the Strathpine Prepoll Booth
Candidates and Volunteers handing out how to vote cards at the Strathpine Prepoll Booth

I did find it most entertaining watching as Talasoga McMahon danced her way around the car park hoying out to people like an auctioneer while the others seemed to wait patiently for her numerical commands to jump. Denise Sims flittered around in her pretty yellow sundress looking all Doris Day movie while Dean Teasdale stood out like an awkward school boy (He’s really really tall!). Over to the side trying to stay in the shade and out of the way of the disability access I had a quick chat with the wife of Steve O’Shannessy (formerly known as Steve Who – I’ve been introduced so I know who he is now), about the entertainment of people watching and having found his how to vote card on my doorstep this morning with my junk mail, I queried if he was out door knocking. He was out and about in the community. Clever bugger went along to a local retirement home who had in house pre polling as well as a few other places in the community. Sly old dog Steve has turned out to be! He could just slide into this race with a very close place.

See there are two types of voters. Those who like I use to be once upon a time before my run in with Mr Mark Latham back in the late 90’s, just really don’t care and vote for either the best looking ones or the ones with the coolest sounding names. Or they just grab the nearest how to vote card on their way into the booth and use that. That’s where the Steve’s of the race have a darn good chance.

Then there are the ones like I am now who follow everything and scrutinise everything because you realise that the decision you make today is going to affect you for the next four years. Even though you know that no matter how you try to make the best decision it can mean nothing at all once those candidates sit in those big comfy leather chairs you still like to believe you have some control over your life in this area.

Of course some take it to a whole other level and just HAVE to comment on EVERYTHING. (Okay I may or may not have done this on the odd occasion – it makes for good writing material). I’m still watching with great entertainment the to and fro of those who are very social media savvy. Although I can’t comment as much as I use to because for whatever reasons (asking too many questions maybe?) I’ve been banned from so many election related pages on Facebook I’m starting to develop a complex (not really). I still get to watch though and as most people who know me well enough would know, it’s where I get my best material.

My conversation with Steve Who’s wife (I hope she forgives me for not remembering her name, it’s nothing personal, I barely remember faces let alone names the first time), made me realise that while some candidates are lashing it out on the social media front others are out there talking to people in the community. And sure you can post a video of how awesome you are or get the former councillor to inappropriately tell everyone you’re “replacing” him (dude it’s an election, anyone could replace you right now), it all means nothing if you’re only reaching those 20 or so people reading the thread or seeing your repetitive posts in their feed, especially when one of those people is ME!

When you get on down to vote on election day this Saturday March 19th though remember the MOST IMPORTANT THING OF THE DAY! Buy a sausage and a cake from the fundraising stall! Please.

If you’re around at Undurba State School in Murrumba Downs I will be there on split shifts as I closely monitor the disability parking bays (that is where I got parked in my some idiot who didn’t care that I needed to actually open my doors to get into my car last election).

Finally, I know it should be obvious but I want to make sure all the candidates and any other mentioned people are clear that I’m a satirical writer and majority of what I say is in jest. Majority. All of it except for the disability parking. And maybe the Teletubbies.

Good luck. May the force be with you.

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