AS the closest thing Canberra gets to a festival of democracy winds to a conclusion this weekend I came across an instructive tableau vivant in the Civic bus interchange recently.
The Greens’ Shane Rattenbury was being berated by an irate citizen for some failing of the government, in which he has served the last four years.
He waved at me in a hopeful manner, I waved back. His body language suggested he’d rather like me to come over and interrupt the conversation he was having.
Sadly for Shane, I was running late for work and kept going.
On the other side of the road the Liberal candidate Elizabeth Lee was trying to convince people to talk to her. It looked to me as if she was jealous of the attention Shane was getting.
For these few short weeks the residents of the Legislative Assembly, and the political hopefuls, are actually mad keen to talk to members of the public.
Sadly for them, this is often counter productive, as no small number of them are appalling human beings (I stress this is a cross-party proposition). The best way for these people to get votes is to make as little human contact as possible.
A candidate recently tried to knock on my door, but couldn’t handle the fact there were dogs in the house.
Considering that 39 per cent of Australian households have dogs, and being rude about a person’s dog is a very quick way to get that person’s back up, this doesn’t seem like smart campaigning.
When I stand in the booth on election day and consider which candidates deserve a number (remember not to give any numbers at all to those which you truly despise), the candidates who hate my dogs are not likely to trouble the scorer.
However ill-advised it may be, we can be sure this interest in we the people will last like a snowball in hell after election day.
This is probably just as well, as annoying random strangers at shopping centres doesn’t give a great feel for the mood of the community.
As on social media, or indeed government consultation processes, only the most motivated of cranks (with lots of time on their hands) will be heard. Meanwhile, ordinary people leading busy lives will scurry past and hope that somewhere a sensible adult is in charge.
At least the door knocking and standing sadly in areas of high foot traffic is an attempt to engage with the community.
The great war of the corflutes is more an assault upon us all.
To begin with, this business is an insult to our intelligence. There’s not a whiff of policy to be seen and, often, not even the name of the party.
They’re just hoping that our liking their photoshopped faces and the sound of their names will convince us to allocate them a precious number on the ballot.
To do that they’re willing to pollute the very spaces we live in.
I’m certainly tempted to de-number any candidate whose name I’ve seen on a corflute poster as well as the ones who hate my dogs.