With everybody talking about the election result and who campaigned well and who tanked, I thought I’d tell readers about my day on July 2nd as I thought it may interest some.

On election day I was handing out for one of the nicest blokes you could ever hope to meet, Carl Katter who was running for the Labor Party in the seat of Higgins. I was handing out at South Yarra Library, a busy booth that alas is also one of the polling booths that were devoid of sausage sizzles or cake stands.

Higgins was one of the most watched electorates of the campaign and was being touted as a three-way battle although in reality it was nothing of the sort. Up against Carl were sitting member Kelly O’Dwyer for the Liberal Party, Jason Ball for the Greens, and five other candidates for other Parties.

The campaigns of the candidates varied greatly. The Liberals had run a campaign with billboards and bus-stop adverts and then run heavily with huge numbers of volunteers at pre-poll. The Greens ran a hugely expensive campaign with billboards and signage and in the final week of the campaign prime-time TV slots that were specific to Higgins, the Greens also had an army of volunteers, although unlike O’Dwyer the Greens volunteers came from mostly from other electorates. The Labor campaign was a $18K affair and its volunteers were branch members, there were no billboards, personalised T Shirts couldn’t be afforded, and on election day Labor were counting themselves lucky to be able to man all booths.

Katter, O'Dwyer and Ball Images - ABC

Katter, O’Dwyer and Ball
Images – ABC

Upon arrival at the booth on Saturday morning it was clear the Greens were not going to let themselves be outnumbered on the day, with approximately 15 volunteers handing out all day as well as the candidate Jason Ball being at the booth for the day. The Liberals had about 10 volunteers there throughout the day, and I was one of three Labor volunteers.

Walking down the street it was impossible not to notice that the Greens had almost shrink-wrapped the venue in plastic bunting and corflutes. (I remember the days of getting to the booth as soon as you were allowed to try to gain the best position, now it appears getting there early means taking every position.) The windows had Green corflutes on them, the street-front of the building had two rows of plastic bunting at the bottom, then two rows of Greens corflutes overlapping, then a smaller row of four more corflutes overlooking the whole scenario. The hand-rails for the disabled access ramps were rendered useless as they were covered in bunting and the rails were used to secure more corflutes making them impossible to wrap your hand around. It is my personal view that disabled access should be off-limits, however it is clear others don’t share my view.

Poking her head over the walls of Green plastic was Kelly O’Dwyer, whose supporters had constructed frames to support signs, and three corflutes on top of the rows of 30 or so Greens corflutes. Labor had to be content with three or four A Frames on the street.

Most of the day I was standing shoulder to shoulder with Greens candidate Jason Ball on one side and Nick Xenophon Team candidate Nancy Bassett on the other. Although after around an hour of clearly getting under Jason Ball’s skin Richard Di Natale rolled up for a couple of hours and plonked himself between us.

It hadn’t been my intention to annoy Ball however after about fifteen minutes of listening to him stretch the truth beyond recognition or just outright lie to voters I thought it was my duty to set them straight.

Handing out on the day

Handing out on the day

The final straw was hearing him tell a voter who queried him on the Greens lack of economic credentials that the Greens were the “Only Party” that had submitted all of their policies for costing by treasury prior to the election. At that point the Wixxy Fact Checker had to be deployed.

It was clearly annoying Ball that I was pointing out to voters that if they wanted action on the issues they cared about they might want to consider voting for a party that might be in a position to deliver.

Ball talked of the Greens being the only Party with a consistent approach to climate change and marriage equality.

Ball then told voters that I was a liar when I pointed out that the Greens had voted down an emissions trading scheme and gagged debate on same-sex marriage in the Senate.

When Ball started calling me a liar I decided that the Wixxy Fact Checker may not be sufficient and resorted to plan B, something clearly Ball didn’t see coming.

When accused of lying, or when Ball made an untrue claim, I just pointed out to voters that they would be in the queue for approximately 20 minutes and perhaps they may like to Google it while they line up. “To find out who’s lying” I’d tell them “Just Google Greens vote down ETS”, or “Google Greens gag same-sex marriage debate”  as they pulled phones from their pockets.

Another pearl of wisdom being offered to voters by Ball was this “All you need to do is put a number 1 in the box next to where it says Green”.

The first time I heard him say that was when he interrupted me and told two girls not to listen to me before offering his advice on how to vote. When I suggested that the girls instead listen to the advice of AEC officials on how to vote rather than do an informal vote as Ball was suggesting it went down like a fart in a phone box. After that I just figured I’d let his supporters vote informal. Perhaps the Greens may in future wish to instruct their candidates on how to actually vote, as it’s relatively important in an election campaign.

There was a Liberal volunteer that though he’d come over and grill Ball on how they’d pay for anything with his jacket covering his Liberal T Shirt. Ball fumbled at first due to the blokes clearly aggressive tone, but when a Green volunteer pointed out who he was Ball turned his back on him and they guy wandered off.

When Di Natale arrived however the same idiot decided it was time to have another crack and approached Di Natale, when Di Natale noticed the shirt below the guys jacket and pointed out that he was not going to waste his time the bloke got a bit antsy. Sensing an oncoming scene I interjected and told the bloke to “pull his head in and go back to handing out” which he skulked off and did.

Another comical moment occurred when a young bloke whom I assume was the Greens booth captain brought out an AEC Official to request that three Liberal corflutes atop the pile of Greens ones be removed as he couldn’t see their authorisation.

I don’t know how many votes he thought would be impacted by three corflutes with less than an hour of voting to go but the look of indifference and exasperation on the officials face said it all. When she explained that the corflutes were authorised but those authorisations were covered by Greens corflutes he queried that they should still be visible. When I pointed out that the 20 or so Greens corflutes we were in front of  were overlapping covering their authorisation he thought better of the complaint.

The offending Liberal corflutes at the top left

The offending Liberal corflutes at the top left

I finished the day scrutineering the Higgins prepoll votes at Camberwell with two other Labor members and about 10 scrutineers each for the Greens and Liberals.

When numbers for one small booth came in there was jubilance amongst some of the Greens who were saying that O’Dwyer was going to be reliant on preferences to get over the line.

This turned out to be a case of premature jubilation and soon enough it was clear that nobody in the room was going to leave happy.

So how did it all pan out?

As everybody but the Greens thought Kelly O’Dwyer easily secured her seat for the Liberal Party with no reliance on preferences.

O’Dwyer lost approximately 2% in the end, which the results would indicate were picked up by the Nick Xenophon Team.

For all the extravagance and massive expense the Greens picked up around 8.8% on their position last election, which is not even all of the 9.1% that Labor lost for its comparatively unfunded campaign. Further evidence that all the Greens achieved was canibilising the progressive vote and not having any impact at all on their claimed target.

So, when the day is done and the counting complete O’Dwyer will take her place in the Ministry of a cobbled together government, Carl Katter will go back to his daily life with his head held high after his campaign, and Jason Ball and the Greens will go back to their lives with the words of the dynamic duo of Lennon and McCartney in their minds.

“Can’t buy me love”


12 thoughts on “Can’t Buy Me Love – My election day

  1. Thank you, love this account it reflects very much what happened in Kooyong except it was the Liberals who were over the top campaigning. However the Greens did board the place with chortles at pre polling. We need to find a better way to deal with th bunting and posters at polling booths, as it should not be first in as one Lie best dressed as Liberal volunteers told m whenever I asked them to make space for others to hand out how to votes or allow them to get under the tiny bit of shelter offered at pre polling on those awful cold, wet and windy days. I had the joy of spending 5 days with Josh Frydenberg, Helen McLeod and Angelina Zubac, the independent. Josh is overbearing and bosses his volunteers around mercilessly as well as having his secret source of campaign funds in the Kooyong 200 Club. Carl did campaign well and should hold his head up high I agree with you that he is one of the most genuine candidates I have met.

  2. Such a waste of money by the Greens Pretty good indication of their economic credentials Yes over reach and lies again They are becoming irrelevant to anyone who cares to look at their skimpy policies

  3. The ALP bunting was removed between set up at 3:30pm Friday and start of polling from all booths.
    First preferences
    ODwyer 33000
    Ball 17000
    Katter 10000

  4. The greens are now a mainstream party. You can tell this by the fact they had no policy agenda, an uninspiring leader and ran a fairly lacklustre campaign yet they still managed to get 10% of the vote. Their only objective in this election was to win seats, which they didn’t achieve, and they are no longer saying they are more labor than labor, merely claiming to be less crap. They will continue on as they are with ongoing and uncritical support from the fairfax press and the abc but they really will need to assess where they are going, especially if the alp continue their resurgence under shorten.

  5. The ETS was terrible and locked in funding for big polluters and new coal mines.

    As for “gagging debate” simply not true. The Greens voted against bringing debate forward on a bill that was tried to be rushed by the LDP on order to halt other legislation.

    The Greens marriage equality bill went forward to be debated only two days later, as scheduled. When the Greens tried to take it to a vote, Labor and Liberal voted against doing so.

  6. No “democracy sausages”? Blasphemy!
    Meanwhile, the Greens did the same job at my booth at North Melbourne Primary School — me, Sex Party — as well as University High School and St. Ambrose’s Hall. Those places were completely “bunted” by 5:30pm THE NIGHT BEFORE, even having volunteers stay overnight to make sure no-one ripped them down. Other than one Liberal voter saying “Fuck you” to a Greens volunteers, hearing that someone wrote “FAG SCUM” in silver spray-paint on one of our bunting, and our voting queue being at least a hour for most of the day, no worries

  7. Better nothing than the ETS eh? Even some Greens acknowledge that was a mistake.

    “Voted against bringing a debate forward” Really? That’s what your calling it?

    The gagged debate on political donations, I suppose that was someone elses fault too?

  8. Are you saying it was torn down? I was not aware if this was the case

  9. That’s cute about the “same-sex marriage” trick you pulled.

    Absolutely correct, the Greens voted against the ALP’s trick of bringing back on the Green’s own Bill – when the ALP was desperately trying to stop the changes to Senate voting.

    But, seriously…..

    The ALP has actively voted with the Liberals FIVE times (i.e – EVERY TIME, 100%!!) over the last 12 years to defeat “same sex marriage”, so it’s just a bit rich for the ALP to pretend they suddenly care about it.

    PS- That is only the times that it actually got to a vote. There have been many other attempts to get it passed which have been stymied by procedural measures.

    Source: http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1516/Quick_Guides/SSMarriageBills

  10. The Greens chose the Liberal senate changes over marriage equality. It’s simple, no trick

  11. It’s hilarious reading the comments by Greenies defending the indefensible here.

    The two facts they cannot face are how they teamed up with LNP wingnuts to cut pensions and protected tax cheats.

    However, isn’t it funny how the Greenie candidate was willing to peddle such brazen, ridiculous, easily-proven lies to punters who were quite prepared to fact-check his claims via the internet?

    Yet this is what Greenies do – they tell lot and lots of lies. About themselves. About what they say they’ve accomplished or achieved. About what they stand for. And more importantly, they lie about where other parties’ policies stand to make themselves look better.

    But it seems the punters weren’t fooled.

    While the Greenie vote in Higgins may have been up, the primary vote nationally for the Greenies was DOWN. The punters are clearly not impressed with the dishonesty of Di Natale and particularly Ludlam, and if the Greenie rank-and-file truly have the personal integrity which they claim every other party lacks, they would dump these two lame ducks faster than Sleaze Pricce can make a complete prat out of himself.

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