Across the broad, brown breadth of Australia’s fruited plane politicians are swearing blind that they represent higher forms of life than the rivals they hope to defeat. You can only wonder why they bother, given that many of those whose votes they seek have already cast their ballots
Nine! Nine days. Just nine days to go. Finally, 47 days after the Prime Minister visited Yarralumla to seek a double dissolution, the remaining time of the least illuminating election campaign in living memory can be measured in single figures.
For some it is already over. And, no. Those of you a tender disposition, fear not. Yes, they took an easy way out. Yes, they chose to end it all. But their decision did not involve consulting Dr Philip Nitschke. It merely means that they have cast an early vote.
Pre-polls opened last week, on June 14. By last Tuesday just under 600,000 voters, close to one in twenty of all on the electoral roll, had cast their ballots. Numbers were up more than 60% on the first week of voting in 2013’s election.
And this was pre-poll voting, too. Not postal. Pre-poll voting where you have to look up a list of often obscure locations that tend to shift from day to day, run down to little corners on the second or fourth floors of second-rate office space rented on the cheap and for just a few weeks by the Electoral Commission. This is something that takes an effort – particularly given that if you front a polling place between 2.00 pm and 5.30 pm on election day you will likely breeze in and out in minutes. These voters obviously wanted it over. They wanted the pain to end. They wanted to be able to tune out with a clear conscience. Who could blame them?
In the background, as I type, the opposition health spokeswoman, Catherine King, is warning against the “privatisation” of the new Australian School Vaccination Register. “Such highly sensitive personal data should not be in the hands of for-profit companies,” she has declared.
So, when they’ve finished their royal commission into the banks, a Shorten Labor government is going to nationalise insurance, is that it? Thank God I’ve already cast my vote.