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Just a few more sleeps and our footpaths will be safe once more


Sausage sizzles aside, there are too many rites of election season that don’t bear repeating, writes Michael Blucher

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Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

There can’t be long to go now, surely, until there’s a ceasefire called on the battlefield of state politics and we can count up the bodies to determine who’s had the least casualties.

I think we’re all ready.

If I see one more person standing by the side of the road in a coloured T-shirt, waving a placard at me, I may well veer sharply left. And accelerate as I mount the kerb.

As an aside, has there been any study into the effectiveness of this highly cerebral undertaking? And if so, any deeper delving into the average IQ of those swayed by the practice? … Hey look – there’s a person in a red shirt, smiling at me. I think I’ll vote for them.

Good choice. Their parents must be very proud.

Another of my personal favourites – junior politicians standing behind more senior politicians, nodding supportively, while their fearless leader fronts the television cameras, delivering the daily sound bites.

“Hey, they can nod at the right time – and in unison. They’ve got my vote”.

Another potentially proud parent moment.

For the benefit of the countless political strategists, all the handsomely paid policy advisers, and the army of spin doctors, crafting the said sound bites to achieve maximum cut through and make their runners appear relatable and trustworthy … here’s how WE see it. The punters, the ones you’re waving at, as we drive past, tempted to veer sharply left.

We don’t care about the coloured T-shirts and placards. Or the nodding.

We don’t care about the “he said – she said”, or the cheap political points-scoring arguments in parliament.

We certainly don’t care about somebody saying or doing something stupid when they were 23, 15 years before they entered politics. That just makes them human.

At a stretch, we don’t even care who you’re sleeping with, or how many affairs you’re having. Or for that matter, who you’re dining with. Big business, talking to our political leaders? Knock me down with a feather. I’d be more concerned if they weren’t talking to them.

No – most of us don’t give a rat’s pat-too-tee about any of that stuff.

What we care about – really care – is that you DON’T WASTE OUR MONEY.

Because in case you’ve forgotten, that’s what it is – OUR MONEY. Riches accumulated from the many and varied taxes, tolls, tariffs, levies, excises that are imposed on us, every day we drive, eat, drink, shop, fish, work – even employ people.

When we’re awake, we’re getting slugged in one way or another. And we understand that we have to – we’re aware that we’ve all got a responsibility to chip in, to pay our way.

But that doesn’t give you, our elected representatives, the right to fritter public money away for you own political expediency.

In that sense, we’re not talking about the billion-dollar infrastructure projects. What galls us most is the peripheral stuff. Taking the state jet to Western Queensland to cut a ribbon, but refusing to address local questions while you’re there, during that exhaustive 30-minute stopover.

The $300,000 spent to produce a report that nobody will ever read, let alone act upon. The $250,000 study into some banal issue, providing answers to questions that no one is asking. All in the name of ticking a box, or appeasing some pedantic noisy, minority.

And my least favourite – the quickfire $80,000 on a “professionally produced” promotional video” – a self-aggrandising piece of political pap that if it was really needed, could have been filmed on an iPhone 5 by a few uni students, and edited, for the princely sum of a carton of beer.

That’s what we hate. Waste.

The more gracious among us understand that you’ve got a tough job. And that you work hard on our behalf. Seriously. I know people on both sides of the political fence, and I’m well aware how little time they spend at home, with their family. They’re always out, meeting and greeting, kissing babies, trying on new hard hats and hi-vis vests.

But don’t treat us like idiots, even if we are. Just be human. Authentic, not slick. And don’t disagree with the other side, just for the sake of it. Tell us when you think they’ve got it right, even compliment them – you know, like we all learnt in Grade 4?

More importantly, admit it when you’ve stuffed up, put up your hand. Explain what you’re going to do to fix it, and move on. Another Grade 4 staple – accepting personal responsibility.

Finally, to address the pressing issue of waste, a simple test. Before you sign off on any expenditure, a quick moment of reflection. Would you be spending it if it was your money? If it was hitting the P and L of a business that you owned and operated? Or an a smaller scale, if it was coming out of your household budget?

Cut out all the unnecessary crap. That’ll win a few people over. Certainly a lot more than coloured T-shirts and waving placards.

There’s more than a few who think we’d be better off without any state government. Think how many tax dollars that would save.

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