Saturday, September 07, 2013

Election Day In Australia - Do We Even Realise How Lucky We Are?

I woke up this morning to an article about the issues about the July election held in Cambodia and tweets about the peaceful protest gathering in Phnom Penh about their election.  A stark reminder how very lucky we are here in Australia to have the freedom to attend our polling booth today, and freely and safely lodge our own vote for the outcome of a parliamentary election.

I was going to complete my vote at an early polling booth near work during the week, until I stumbled upon the website which mapped out the election sausage sizzle locations, and found that the primary school near where I am housesitting was a one of the ones where I could get a snag after completing my two ballot papers.

Because not only are we free to vote as we decide, we Aussies make the best of our compulsory democratic duty by having a BBQ, and schools get the chance to fund raise through stalls.

As I walked down, I felt such a sense of community. Here I was, walking along ahead and behind other groups doing the same - families, housemates, singles - about to participate in our democratic right, and have a say in the leadership of our great and lucky country.

An opportune house just near the school was holding a garage sale. The line to vote was massive when I finally made it through the gauntlet of aggressive pamphlet holders, hoping that somehow forcing into my hands a flyer for their party would influence my vote. I completed my numbering on the green and white paper, and felt a sense of pride as they were lodged. How lucky we are!

All around the world people die trying to access a right to vote.  People are killed for political stances. Communities are bribed to vote in certain ways.

1.4 million eligible Australians were not registered to participate in the election today (according to Channel 10 coverage just now). And countless Aussies have had a whinge on social media and to anyone who would listen about having to vote - for taking an hour out of their weekend for the right to have a say. I heard many people talk about doing a protest vote, or an informal vote on purpose. Imagine explaining that to someone in a land like Burma, who long for their vote to be safe, and honoured.

Polling closes shortly on this side of the country, and the counting begins. Australia holds it's breath for the outcome...


  1. I voted, bought a book, had a snag sambo and watched the Junior Girls Dance Grouo shake their groove thang. Not a bad morning! x

    1. Sounds lovely!
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Gutted that Australia House in London failed to put on a BBQ. Just endless queues & bag checks with irritatingly rude security staff. Hardly very "Australian" of them.

    1. Oh! Very Un-Australian!
      I heard about the level of security - my sister had her fork from her lunchbox confiscated when she was exercising her democratic right from so far away!


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