Columnist MIKE WELSH reflects on another another seven days in the national capital
ELECTIONS in Canberra are always a bit of a fizzer.
With the outcome utterly predictable (Labor in Fenner and Canberra, the Senate split between Labor and Liberal) we miss a lot of the froth and bubble that voters are treated to in the marginals.
Where are the neighbours laying out duelling sets of candidate posters on their lawns?
However, I did have a strange, wake-up moment listening to a politics podcast (don’t judge me), wherein the two respected press gallery reporters were judging the respective TV ads of the two campaigns.
At the time I hadn’t seen one TV ad all campaign.
Since then, I sort of sighted one. It was on the TV in the pub, but the sound was down. I think it was for Zed Seselja but, given it had no “Liberal” branding I could see, it was hard to tell.
A straw poll of friends and colleagues revealed I was not alone.
My TV watching revolves around sport on Foxtel, “Game of Thrones”, the ABC, and Netflix. Most people I know live similarly.
If there were to be a truly great game-changing political ad, I’d have to go seek it out on YouTube, which rather defeats the point of paid broadcast advertising.
Looking at the TV ratings on a regular basis it’s obvious that news, sport, and reality are the last bastions of broadcast television.
While “MasterKitchen” may be the most popular thing left on broadcast TV, there’s a much larger group of people who have no interest in the personal struggles of intolerable foodies.
The election is somewhat fought on social media, but so far the main sentiment changer has been that I now distrust and despise my Labor-leaning friends who are just far too shrill and hectoring.
Normally, I trust their opinions on a lot of issues but they’ll need to remove the puppeteer’s hand before I listen again.
The efforts of the politically partisan to reach out through the world of memes to “the youth” are invariably awful.
The Twitter feed @WoefulAuspol keeps a good collection if you’re new to the game and looking to dive in.
Let’s not spare the Liberals while we’re here. With an economy growing strongly and unemployment at historic lows, banging the “Jobs and Growth” drum seems a bit thick. If now is not the time to ask about other issues when will we?
So the campaign limps on from shopping centre to shopping centre in the marginal seats. Babies are kissed, platitudes are mouthed, the three-word slogans are repeated.
No contest of ideas, just narrow constituencies to be appealed to and shaved off, and commentary based on advertising no-one has actually seen, let alone cares about.
We are all, indeed, being taken for fools.
Turnbull will probably sneak back in. His party will blame him for the loss of seats, foolishly not realising that, under any other leader, they would have been buried.
Maybe one day we’ll be offered a bigger choice than between gangs of thugs wanting to share the spoils of victory. But it won’t be this time around.