Campaign swag that sets clever candidates apart

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I DEEPLY regret not collecting the “Kevin 07” T-shirt. Much like the “It’s Time” T-shirt from Gough Whitlam’s election campaign 48 years ago, it will probably go down as one of the most memorable pieces of political paraphernalia. 

No one really knows from election to election, which campaign swag will resonate, but often the most obscure posters, T-shirts and flyers stick in the public imagination long after the campaign is over.

Sometimes the most memorable merchandise comes from the least likely of candidates. Many Canberrans would remember Kim Huynh’s unorthodox campaign from last time. Most voters would struggle to remember what the independent candidate for Ginninderra stood for, but they wouldn’t forget his posters sporting his impressive rig with a prominent “BELCO” tattoo stamped across his chest. 

For the record, the tattoo wasn’t real but the ANU lecturer did get Belconnen’s postcode 2617 tattooed on his arm after the 2016 election.

Even the most bizarre campaign swag is worth holding on to after the election is over. For one, there is always the chance that today’s ACT Assembly election candidates become tomorrow’s elected officials and all of a sudden your “Barrack for Carrick” gear gets a new life.

Swag, like politics, is all about the long game, so don’t donate that shirt just yet. Here is the 2020 gear most likely to become a collector’s item tomorrow.

The ‘Belco Pride’ pin

What makes it worth saving? The growing trend. 

The Belco Party, led by former Canberra Liberal Bill Stefaniak, is running on the motto “keep the bastards honest”, coined by Australian Democrats’ leader the late Don Chipp. This election will likely decide if the Belco Party is just a passing fad or go on to be a lasting player in ACT politics. So hang on to that pin for now. 

The ‘We back Deepak’ corflute

What makes it worth saving? The quirky factor.

Countback Deepak is looking to build on his electoral good fortune from last time by securing a seat in the ACT Assembly in the first round, rather than sweating on securing a quota on countback. 

His corflute featuring the slogan “We back Deepak” is a little goofy but quirky just the same and will appeal to certain voters. While it falls short of the appeal of “I like Ike” it’s not bad for an ACT election. 

‘The major parties don’t speak for me’ bumper sticker

What makes it worth saving? Its sentiment will never go out of fashion.

The Federation Party has gone with a slogan for its bumper sticker that will resonate with voters from election to election. Despite the best efforts of the major political parties, they fail to capture everyone’s hearts and minds at election time. This is one piece of election swag that could be dusted off and used again in the future. Use it as a bookmark in the meantime.

Therese Faulkner’s pub coaster 

What makes it worth saving? Trying something different.

While the guy with the rig had something that really captured attention, the Canberra Progressives’ candidate for Kurrajong, Therese Faulkner, has gone all out to capture the vote of the mug punter by employing the slogan “Put your mug on my mug and don’t be a mug”. Not sure how it will be received by undecided voters, but full marks for something different. 

The ‘Barrack 4 Carrick’ flyer

What makes it worth saving? A clever play on words.

The catchiest slogan for the campaign is independent candidate for Murrumbidgee Fiona Carrick’s. The “Barrack 4 Carrick” is more likely to be remembered than the other battlecries this election campaign. You might as well snap this one up now to add to the collection.

Vijay Dubey’s T-shirt

What makes it worth saving? The fluro factor.

Vijay Dubey’s popularity as the dumped Canberra Liberal-candidate-turned-Belco-Party-convert isn’t the only eye-popping thing about his campaign. While most political candidates rely heavily on a red, white and blue colour palette, Vijay’s rolled out bold and distinctive black-and-fluro colours for his campaign shirts, which have quickly become synonymous with the candidate’s fun, no-frills, first-name-basis campaign. 

David ‘Waistcoat’ Pollard’s campaign material

What makes it worth saving? Best-dressed candidate.

Independent for Yerrabi David Pollard is doing his best to lift the dress standard of candidates this election. However it leaves him open to criticism that he looks more like a 19th century gentleman than someone standing for office in 2020. He’s certainly in the running for the best-dressed candidate.

‘Grow better democracy’ donation seeds

What makes it worth saving? An environmentally friendly campaign donation.

Keen to cultivate the seeds of political change, Canberra Progressives’ candidate for Kurrajong Tim Bohm has come up with a nifty idea to raise some campaign cash. At $25 or $50 a pop you can buy “Purple Dragon” carrot seeds or seeds to grow “Royal Burgundy” beans. They might be the most expensive veggies you’ll ever cultivate but it’s probably the most novel piece of merch in this election.

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