Ficklish Blog

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vote 1 AB

This blog, neglected though it is, is the nearest thing to a public mouthpiece that I have, so I thought I might use it for a bit of a plug in this very important week.

Election week in London means voting at Australia House. They open late for the hordes of expats who want to make sure the country doesn’t go to hell in a handbasket in their absence. It was cold and wet and the queues were very long, but the atmosphere was lively and hopeful and very good fun. Australia House is a beautiful building on the Strand, right in the middle of storybook Olde Towne London. It was somewhat surreal to be standing in the drizzle, watching red buses go by and seeing St Paul’s in the skyline while lost in a sea of Aussie accents, surrounded by posters of Johnnie and Kevin and Bob (and, strangely, Mark Vaile), then being ushered inside to vote at cardboard AEC polling boxes that were so perfectly familiar.

I actually went down last night for another purpose as well: it was about time I did my (very) little bit to help out with trying to get some remarkable people of my acquaintance re-elected to the Senate. I stood in the rain with my little bunch of how-to-vote leaflets, and politely suggested to the assembled queue of soggy expatriates waiting to cast their ballots that they consider voting Democrat in the Senate.

There was plenty of good natured banter ("They still exist?!" "Sure they do! And they do a great job!"), and as the queues grew longer people were forced to stand right by me instead of rushing past. I took every opportunity to put in a good word for a top bloke I know, and I thought I might do the same again here.

For those of you not enrolled in Queensland, I apologise that the following is not particularly relevant to you. Although, Victorians? This lady is an excellent choice.

For those Queenslanders who may be reading: I highly recommend that you vote 1 for Andrew Bartlett in the Senate.

He’s been in the Senate for ten years and it would be a great shame if he was to lose his seat.

If you would like to read more about his views on particular subjects, you need go no further than his excellent blog. AB is a pioneer in terms of politician blogging in Oz - unlike all the johnnies-come-lately with their ‘oh, there’s an internet?’, he’s actually been doing it for many years now. In fact, he recently announced his 1000th post, which is pretty freaking awesome.

So, if you have a moment or three, you can read all about what he thinks in relation to refugees, indigenous issues, human rights, health, education, housing, animal welfare, the economy, and more.

One of the best things about AB is his devotion to the Senate and its role. We’ve seen what happens when the Government has a majority in the Senate, and it’s not pretty. Whatever your opinion of the decisions they have made, the Democrats have been thoughtful and constructive when it comes to the balance of power. I hope that they get the chance to continue to be thus for some time to come.

Reports of electoral death have been greatly exaggerated, too - AB is in with a fighting chance. It’s a close race for that last seat in Queensland, and it could as easily be Family First or Pauline Hanson as AB or a Green. Queenslanders, your Senate vote could not be more important. Choose wisely.

Politics aside, I think the most important thing is that we have good, talented, hardworking people representing us in Parliament. AB is all that and then some: a very good man, and a very good Senator. He is smart, thoughtful and passionate and serves with integrity and dedication. I am proud to have voted for him, and I very much hope that you consider doing the same.

I think I’m going to go down to Australia House again tomorrow night. Fingers crossed. Happy voting everyone!