Goodbye to kissing babies and shaking hands. GREG CORNWELL sees a lot to look forward to from a covid-compliant election.
COVID-19 has changed so much of the way we live and with a federal poll looming, why not also how we conduct election campaigns?
Just think, no more door knocks or attendance at shopping centres, annoying the constituents. After all, you can’t get much of a message across wearing a mask and how do you display your honest face to these strangers?
And kissing babies and shaking hands would not be allowed, probably to mutual satisfaction.
How-to-vote cards at polling booths would be prohibited, no more running the gauntlet through closely packed, covid-risking campaign workers thrusting paper at you. No more public debates or local stage-managed party launches either, unless by unreliable Zoom meetings where, to a candidate’s relief, questions would be limited.
However, it would not be all gloom and doom for our budding politicians. Pamphlet drops could continue, providing you kept away from dog walkers and people exercising. Annoyingly, telephone canvassing would increase, if only from the privacy of the canvasser’s own home.
Postal votes would increase, too, and more paid polling-booth workers would be needed to keep waiting voters 1.5 metres apart.
Where possible, banners on school fences still would be allowed so the midnight battles to erect and remove could continue and A-frames, featuring candidates’ names scattered like tank traps outside polling booths, would be lawful.
Independents and small parties might complain, but it’s doubtful if they would be any worse off than under current rules, where they always struggle for publicity. Their lack of campaign workers would be eased and the major parties’ problem of diminishing number of volunteers would be solved.
Of course, to be really progressive one could institute a “No-Vax, No-Vote” policy, but that would be going too far, wouldn’t it?
Greg Cornwell is a former Speaker and Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly.
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