Saturday, November 24, 2007

Notes for Politicians - of whatever party

The Australian Federal election 2007 is over in a landslide. We have a new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and a new Government. Now we must wait and see what happens.
So I thought this was a good time to look at what I found most annoying during the campaign - apart from the fact that it was certainly the most boring campaign I've ever had to watch. It was so dull that I suspect there'll be a record number of folk fined for not voting because they fell asleep. For the benefit of those from elsewhere we have compulsory voting in Australia. That way we all have to bear the responsibility.
Top of the list was the phone calls from would be Members of Parliament and/or their supporters. They were all annoying but the recorded telephone call from John Howard put him and his party in the same category as the dreaded telemarketers (if not worse) because it came after 9:00 pm which a straw poll of acquaintances of all political colours agreed is past the time when it is civilised to intrude. Given my attitude to phone pests, and for the same reasons, this did not go down well.
Then there were the trees sacrificed in the name of advertising by all parties. In each week of the campaign our household (with four registered voters and in a marginal seat) received anything up to 10-12 pieces of glossy electioneering, usually with 2-3 sheets in each. This does not include the average of one or two a week during the six months before the election date was announced. With all parties claiming green credentials I have to wonder exactly how they define them.
As a voter I want to know what precisely I am being promised so I sit through media interviews however stultifying. I do not want to see a candidate or member of a political party evade issues and they all did. That's right. No matter what party they represented. I lost count of the number of times interviews became a classic example of the "Yes, Minister" mantra of if you don't like the question being asked answer one you do like whether it has been asked or not. Are they forced to study "Yes, Minister" tapes before they stand for election to learn these techniques?
I became heartily sick of seeing little babies being cuddled and kissed. This is the only time in their lives the poor little mites don't have to think about politics and its ramifications and they can't escape. Just leave them alone, I say.
Then there was the endless and repetitive television and radio advertising, little of it positive with the bulk crudely produced and designed to scare, not inform. My advice: if you want to spend vast amounts of money on advertising at least make it look as if you have something to offer.
Finally, calling an election in the hot months of the year when it isn't forced is not a good idea. While the actual voting takes place inside, the queues of those waiting to get in at the polling booths are broiling. Makes a mockery of the anti-skin cancer campaigns, doesn't it.
Not only the political parties need to think about their actions. The attempt by a commercial television channel to rescue us from the boredom of serious commentary in the tally room by bringing along personalities to make their program of vote tallies entertaining and the filming of skits by a satirical program are hardly treating the election of a government which will determine our future for the next three or four years with the respect it deserves. Unfortunately tally room space being somewhat confined, the entertainment frequently drowned the actual results being broadcast by the only nationwide free to air program. But, hey, why would people without access to big city based channels want to know who their next government was going to be anyway?
So there's my list. Any chance of it making a difference? No, I didn't think so.


Satima Flavell said...

Yup, I could hardly hear Kerry O'Brien for the shenanigans in the background. It reminded me why I never watch commercial TV

Imagine me said...

It really was infuriating and as much to the commentators as the viewers.