Today is the day of the Australian General Election. I can’t pretend that I’m not relieved. Why? I hear you asking. Are you interested in a change of government? Do you delight in the chance to have your vote count?
Er no, actually. My vote doesn’t count, as I’m not Australian. If I were Australian, I would probably be so annoyed at the fact that it was actually illegal for me not to turn up and vote that I’d find a way of messing up the ballot paper. A “donkey vote” as they call it here. Weird. I’m not really sure how making people vote helps. What about the people who just don’t want to vote? What about the people who just don’t care? By making them vote, if they just tick the box by the person they like the name of, for example, the results will be odd? And not demonstrate the views of those who really care?
Anyway, boy, are they serious about making you vote here. There was a polling station in the hospital, along with lots of people wandering about with banners, for some reason. Not only that but you know how people in ITU are generally really sick? Some even literally on their deathbed? There were teams of people going round and making them vote. What about the unconscious ones, that’s what I want to know. How did they force them to vote? What about the ones without the use of their arms? Hardly a secret ballot, is it? Also, hardly fair. There you are, tube down your throat, on mountains of sedatives, trying to concentrate on those faces of your family in case today is the last day you ever get to see them and some eejit comes along and shoves a ballot paper in front of your face and won’t go till you’ve filled it in!
Being made to vote isn’t the only issue though. They have not one, but two ballot papers here. I could tell you the difference, but actually I can’t, as I haven’t been paying enough attention. I do know that they have had to run a series of very boring adverts telling you how to fill them out. It’s not as simple as putting a cross in a box. Oh no. You can either mark whom you like the sound of, or you can rank them all in order, or you can do something else entirely. I stopped paying attention after the second one. I know the British voting system has its problems, but oh my, it’s far more sensible than this one!
The real reason for my excitement about the election being almost over is that this election has been one of the weirdest I’ve ever witnessed. Perhaps it’s normal for Australians, I don’t know, I’ve never witnessed an Australian election before now. But the politicians seem to spend all their time slagging each other off, and nobody seems to say what their policies are. There was a televised debate, which had to be moved as it clashed with the Masterchef Grand Final (tee hee!), which seemed to consist of the two main leaders insulting each other, and not giving proper answers. The only thing to liven proceedings up was two pink and blue worms wiggling across the bottom of the screen. These were supposed to represent male and female opinion. Of course, the pink one shot up whenever the female current PM spoke, and the blue one whenever the male challenger spoke. As neither of them came out with any policies, nobody had anything to get excited about except for gender bias.
It will, hopefully, finally mean the end of the really annoying adverts for both parties that we’ve been forced to sit through. These adverts appear literally in every other advert space, and consist of both parties promising to “stop the boats”. Along with the ritualistic slagging each other off, of course. Australians, it would seem, are obsessed with boat people, and stopping the boats. The boats being the occasional boat full of asylum-seekers, and the odd people-smuggling operation. Despite the images the term “boat-people” conjures up, they are not small wooden dinghies with arms and legs sticking out of the bottom, nor are they distant, off-shore cousins of Gollum of the River-folk from Middle Earth. No, they are simply poor people wanting a better life. Australians (or Australian politicians, anyway) seem to find them repulsive, despite the fact that, oh about 99% of Australians are immigrants, however many generations back.
If I hear the phrase “stop the boats” one more time, I will scream. Perhaps if they did something about their immigration laws (a mere 2 years for permanent residency) then less people would want to come here? Just a thought. Sigh. Give me an English election any day of the week.
Australians do have very terrible adverts though, even despite the electoral ones. For example, there is a particularly infuriating advert for peas at the moment. How can an advert for peas be bad? Well, let me tell you… Picture the scene: a small girl and her grandfather go to a field of peas.
“Look, a pea!” the grand father says.
“But Granddad, real peas come from the freezer.” The little girl protests.
“But this is where they start out. *company I shouldn’t mention* freezes them fresh to lock in the flavour.” The grandfather explains.
“Mmm, they’re good!” Says the little girl, eating a pea.
“They’re all good, sweetie.” Says the grandfather.
Urgh! It makes me sick! Why would you take your grandchild out to see a field of peas, instead of, I don’t know, to the park, or the beach or something? Why would you teach your child that peas come from the freezer and really, if said company “freezes them fresh” what on earth do the other frozen pea companies do? Keep the poor peas lying around for several weeks while they grow mould and then decide to freeze them? I think not… Gosh, it’s annoying.
And in any other business today, I have managed not to projectile regurgitate any more of the Chinese Medicine, but am running out of chocolate, which I cunningly stuff into my mouth as soon as I’ve drunk it to take away the flavour of mouldy celery and cauliflower. I don’t feel that different, except for maybe a smidgen more energy. We shall see what happens next week, as the Uterus of Doom is due to come out of her room and attempt polite conversation for once, instead of teenage accusations of unfairness.