First time vote in Wentworth

Posted on August 21, 2010 by

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No cake or caramel slice. No free sausage sizzle. Not even a brawl between the volunteers, competing with voters to take their pamphlets. While my first election vote was free of all the fripperies that I’m sure we were promised at some stage, lining up with other Wentworth voters was still exciting.

At 9am, voters were pooling out the doors of voting booths in Paddington, in inner Sydney NSW, right out onto the street. At the top of Oxford Street, some of the 600 or so volunteers helping out around Wentworth were crowding around voters as they walked in to vote.

“Need help on how to vote at this election?… Or perhaps you’re looking to vote Labor, sir?… want to see how GetUp! have ranked the candidates,” a group of volunteers swarmed in, flapping glossy cards.
I declined all of their pamphlets. Not just because I had already decided who I was voting for, but also because the only choice was for me to take every single pamphlet. Decline one volunteer, and you may as well vote for all of the candidates with a show of hands. Take just one of the pamphlets, and you begin questioning why you didn’t come dressed in blue, green or red like the rest of the volunteers.

Other voters in the line weren’t as worried as me. A young girl ahead of me asked her mum why she was voting for Steven Lewis, the ALP candidate. Lowering her voice to a whisper, her mother replied: “Because that’s the way mummy always votes.”

Inside the primarty school building, voters were manoeuvring the white Senate ballot paper; deciding whether or not to vote below the line. I knew the candidates that I wanted to put at the top and I also knew the candidates that needed to be at the bottom of the rank. And while I’m not too clear on the difference it will make to my vote, it was satisfying to rank all of the 84 names.

On the way out, voters were already saying that Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal member for Wentworth, had the election in the bag. In many ways you can put it down to the fact that it is a safe Liberal seat. But the strategic advertising employed by Malcolm’s team leading up to, and on, election day would certainly have helped his cause.

His green posters, which dominated the telegraph poles of Paddington today, have practically airbrushed any trace of a link with the Liberal Party. With no logo and no Liberal slogan, we can assume that Malcolm sought to distance himself from the image of the Liberal Party.

The latest results from the Australian Electoral Commission’s tally room show that Malcolm Turnbull has retained his seat, with the Liberal Party holding 64.2% of the vote.

While the outcome of my vote is clear, the numbers from across Australia will soon decide which party will win the election.

Words – Joel Tozer

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