Less than 48 hours remain now before our federal election. I love politics for themselves but I am particularly grateful for their diversion at this time. The council has got a bee in its bonnet about our proposed extension and we are awaiting their verdict. I was worried about plumbing issues when I should have been worried about town planning (had I been aware even that this was an issue.) I spend a few Alice in Wonderland hours yesterday talking in circles with a town planner who was convinced that we were moving a house onto our block and joining it to ours for “dual occupancy” purposes. In one of those moments reminiscent of Cold War movies, the person insisted that dual occupancy was fine as long as we admitted that was what we were doing and went through the appropriate processes. I heard echoes of “Just confess and everything will be alright.” After all there is another kitchen and bathroom in the new part of the house. The fact that we indicated on the plans that the fixtures in these rooms would be removed to provide a rumpus room and a hallway proved nothing.
I have a difficult relationship with bureaucracy after boarding school, visa offices and embassies around the world, a certain American university’s international student office, and our very own Centrelink amongst others. A certain administrative “we know what’s best” tone sets me on edge. Regarding the council, my far more sensible partner points out that this is something that we just have to work our way through and be patient. So I divert my mind with politics.
After nearly twelve years in office for the Coalition (Liberal and National parties) most pundits are predicting a landslide for Labor. Perhaps it’s the catchy “Kevin ‘07” American-politics style logo or maybe people are just ready for a change. If this does happen we will go from John Howard to the man commonly portrayed by political cartoonists as Tintin. Rudd himself is downplaying the potential win while continuing his look of confident future-leader-material.
I have been using the web to help me make up my mind on whether to vote above or below the line on my Senate ballot paper (white). For my overseas readers, we have a preferential voting system. If you vote above the line you mark “1” in the box of the party of your choice. This means that you allow the order of your preferences to be decided by the party of your choice. For example, if you support the Australian Democrats, their preference distribution for Queensland is listed here. If you vote below the line, you have to number every box in order of your preference. On the (green) ballot paper for the House of Representatives, that is, the representative for your local electorate, you have to number each of the boxes in your order of preference.
I don’t think I have received as many letters addressed to Dr. Blithe in the past six years as I have in the last six weeks. Ironically, many trees have been sacrificed to court the vote of a household that mainly sources political information on the internet.
Our new government will be decided on Saturday. The ramifications of whatever happens will reverberate over the coming few weeks and months. When and what the council decides is unknown, but at least I’ll be diverted in the meantime.