By the time 1992 rolled around I was capable of rational thought, so I carefully weighed up all the pros and cons and determined which presidential candidate I should vote for. Then I realised that the critical factor in my decision had been whether the candidate was good for
In 1997 I voted for a Labor candidate. This was for the incumbent mayor of our city. The notable thing about this election was that at the time he was having a bitter argument with the local paper on the grounds that they were out to get him, but it was solely due to the local paper that I voted for him. I was temperamentally and ideologically inclined towards the ‘other side’; but whenever the paper quoted the challenger (s)he came across as a complete dill whose only coherent policies were stupid and unattractive.
In 1998 I played a minor role in the brief ascendancy of ‘One Nation’ in Queensland by exhausting my preferences (which you can do in Queensland state elections) rather than directing preferences to Peter Beattie- little dreaming he would one day become a Sennacherib-like destroyer of the weak, but disliking him already. The guy I had voted for came third, and our electorate ended up being represented by a man whose previous claim to fame was as a shopping-centre Santa Claus.
I made a bumper sticker: ‘Don’t blame me, I voted for the Easter Bunny.’
At the time, this was not technically true.
Later that year, I gave us the GST by voting for the Liberal candidate in our marginally marginal seat and for the Democrats in the Senate. ‘My’ senator was Andrew Bartlett, and I still feel a twinge of pride whenever he writes something sensible in the papers or gets drunk in Parliament.
In 2000 I didn’t vote for anyone in the
In 2001 I did vote for the Easter Bunny. I was cross at all the parties in the House of Representatives for voting themselves such a big pay rise for no reason, and was in an incredibly safe seat anyway. So I pencilled in The Easter Bunny and Osama bin Laden on my ballot paper and preferenced them relative to the major parties.
The silly thing I did that election was in the vote for the Senate, where my directed preferences ended up going to the Greens and electing Kerry Nettle. I have written her several letters as ‘My’ senator, but she has never acknowledged receipt of any of them, and she has always voted the exact opposite to how I asked her to.
Oh, I almost forgot the constitutional referendum. I voted informal straight down the line- keen though I was to support Aden Ridgeway’s preamble- for the same reason I stopped voting in American elections. I realised I had a visceral, un-Australian respect for the constitution which was entirely due to my American background. Because of my cultural background, I considered constitutions to be quasi-sacred documents. Writing the Queen out of the constitution would be too much like writing Britney Spears into Second Corinthians. I did not think it would be fair on my fellow Australians to cast my vote on such a basis.
In 2004 we moved to a locality with sitting Independents on the state and federal level, who I have voted for whenever possible. They answer my letters, and on at least one notable occasion our Federal member has explicitly said in Parliament he was voting the way his constituents told him to, and then voted the way I told him!
Also in 2004, after reading Dante’s De Monarchia I decided that the President of the
It told me to vote for Labor. And, despite the fact that one of my top three nominated issues was ‘climate change’ and my expressed opinion thereon was ‘don’t sign anything, don’t do anything, its all bollocks’ it told me to put the Greens next. I find myself a teensy bit suspicious of its objectivity.