View from the voting booth: an election day diary

1am Saturday – It has become apparent that other parties have been tearing down our posters from poles. We are too tired to retaliate. Final blitz of distributing resources to booth captains and then home. 7am – Setting up at Forest Lodge. There is a sea of green – Clover has co-opted The Greens’ branding…

ballotbox

1am Saturday – It has become apparent that other parties have been tearing down our posters from poles. We are too tired to retaliate. Final blitz of distributing resources to booth captains and then home.

7am – Setting up at Forest Lodge. There is a sea of green – Clover has co-opted The Greens’ branding for this election. Probably not a bad move around here.

9am – I meet a Greens volunteer. She is a former ALP member and admits that she participated in our community preselection. Greens like the ALP when it suits them, but vote against us when it counts.

9:30am – The Liberal turns up late. He looks out of place and then admits to living on the north shore. Apparently Tony Abbott has called in favours to support his sister, Christine Forster. I can never understand how the Liberals win elections without grassroots support.

9:45am – Dr Meredith Burgmann arrives. She is a living legend and a Labor hero. I go to chat to her and discover a Liberal harassing voters behind the no-go chalk line. I berate him with my best Labor vocabulary.

10:15am – The Greens have a new helper. They have a more relaxed roster than Labor, with quicker turnaround. The replacement also voted in the ALP community preselection. Me-tooism is pervasive in their movement and one of the reasons I disapprove of them.

10:30am – The Clover volunteer and the Greens helper are talking about real estate. This is Sydney after all. Clover approved a development in Harold Park which the Greens opposed. Not this Green though – he is interested in buying an apartment off the plan in the “nice part” of Glebe. They resolve to investigate their options. Keating once described this sort of person as a tap dancing basket weaver. They are the modern face of the Left, I’m told. I despair.

11:00am – I am replaced and take an early lunch before heading across to St Scholastica’s at the other end of Glebe – absolute Clover Country. The typical Clover supporter is in his or her mid 60s, wears silly glasses and is a bicycle fancier.

11:15am – One of the Greens’ candidates is here handing out with her daughter. The daughter is complaining about the light rail extension to Dulwich Hill. Apparently this will promote overuse by commuters and she may not score a seat every morning. Public transport? Not in my back yard.

12:00pm – 4:00pm – I pass the time with a volunteer for the ‘Housing Action’ independents. They want more support for public housing. I decide he is a fellow traveller and we share the lunch provided by the ALP.

6:00pm – I settle in for scrutineering the count of votes at Sydney Town Hall. I have obviously upset someone to end up in this particular political gulag. There are 11,000 ballot papers.

10:00pm – We spend four hours arguing about who lost to Clover Moore and in what order and I leave in a huff with a dead phone and no Twitter. It has been a long day.

Tom Harris-Brassil is a member of the Australian Labor Party

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