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June 20, 2024

Dispatches from the polling booths

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The political pendulum always swings, sometimes quite savagely, knocking out MPs. The late swing to Labor was detected a few days before the election by Newspoll.

Ballina Greens MP, Tamara Smith, was re-elected easily with an increased majority, despite a typically nasty smear by the Daily Telegraph. It had no effect.

This election once again proved the impotence of the Murdoch media in Australia.

Labor’s Janelle Saffin was easily re-elected in Lismore. She and Tamara have worked tirelessly in a multi-partisan way to assist their distressed constituents during these tragic times.

Hard-working, well-known incumbents certainly have an advantage.

Jo and I did our bit to help. We bowled up at 8am to hand out how-to-votes at the Tintenbar Public School for the Greens and Animal Justice Party.

We were really impressed with how the entrance was festooned with Greens posters. They had a far more impressive presence than the other parties.

This was a relatively small booth with a majority of National Party voters.

Naturally, we were friendly with people distributing how-to-vote cards (HTVs) for other candidates. I stood out the front, flanked on my right by a woman working for Independent, Kevin Loughrey.

He had placed the Greens last on his preference list, and the Greens put him last.

On my left, was another woman handing out for Nationals candidate Josh Booyens, whose advice was to ‘Vote 1 only’ and not distribute preferences.

Despite having polar opposite political views, we had a friendly conversation for several hours and, why not, we all belong to the same community.

Incoming Premier, Chris Minns, said this peaceful election, with its ‘respect and civility’, was a model for the way democracy can be done across the country.

I greeted some voters jokingly with ‘Welcome to the gauntlet!’ With others I was more circumspect.

Some clearly didn’t want leaflets thrust at them. All three of us respected that.

A younger man grilled me on my views on chemtrails. I equivocated, not wishing to argue with him.

Then he started on the vaccine mandates. I told him to vote for the Independent, Kevin, whose views were very similar.

He talked about us being ‘communist’. I asked if a universal health care system is communist? Or whether paying unemployed people enough to live on is communist? I asked him what he thought communism was. He said lamely ‘What Stalin did’.

Honestly, I’ve no idea if hours of handing out HTVs influenced a single voter. Supposedly, about twenty per cent of voters decide on the actual day. It was illuminating to meet such a wide cross-section of our community. One rarely gets the chance to encounter people of such diverse opinions in a harmonious atmosphere.

We left there giving everyone a cheery wave, not knowing what was to come. A few hours later it was revealed that the swing was indeed on.

It was a very good result for Labor, but disastrous for the Liberals. The latter will need to do some deep soul-searching to work out what they really stand for.

Right now, they are literally dying out as a party. Their main strength is in what is called the interwar generation – those born between 1928 and 1945, in other words 77 years old and over. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that doesn’t bode well for the future of the Liberal Party!

The Liberals will be lucky to end up with 21 out of 93 seats in the Legislative Assembly (lower house). It’s looking more and more like a minor party.

It will take several days to work out the final make-up of the Assembly. It’s likely that Chris Minns will have a working majority.

Half a million voted postal, and a quarter of all electors voted before election day.

Traditionally these late-counted votes tend to favour conservatives. It’s not impossible that some seats called for Labor will revert to the Coalition when counting is finalised.

The Legislative Council (upper house) will take much longer to finalise. There’s a good chance that the Greens and Jeremy Buckingham of Legalise Cannabis will hold the balance of power in the Legislative Council.

Perhaps then, we will finally get some action on cannabis reform. Premier Bob Carr failed by only a single vote in the Legislative Council to decriminalise cannabis in 1996.

Let’s hope the Minns government will prove a breath of fresh air and introduce many long-awaited reforms. It didn’t start well though.

As we were watching the results unfold, and it was obvious Labor had won on Saturday night, new Environment Minister, Penny Sharpe, said her government would ‘honour the contract’ for the giant new gas field at Narrabri, although she didn’t look comfortable saying so.

We’ll soon find out if we really do have a ‘fresh start’!

♦ Richard Jones is a former NSW MP and is now a ceramist.

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  1. Would like to congratulate both Tamara & Chris
    Tamara gets things done … a sign of good things to
    Come from the new Premier was to stop funding
    For sporting stadiums..and put into hospitals &
    and education..Inwich he insured he would do if
    Elected.. Priorities Premier well done 👏 ✔️

  2. It’s prudent to think ‘in weeks– not days’ (AEC) over these particular election results.
    That advice could be relevant to your present up-beat outlook as well.

  3. “We were really impressed with how the entrance was festooned with Greens posters.”, in QLD that would get you a jail term. I agree that young man you mentioned certainly needs to be educated on Marxism. Funny how the schools don’t teach what communism/socialism/marxism is nor its bloody history. I also agree that no one wants the liberal party. We certainly don’t. They’re useless cucks.

  4. Christian that was under Joh, long gone thankfully.
    And Richard who introduced our universal health care, definitely not the greens or Tories. Maybe you could talk to Tamara about her disappointing acceptance speech which was very nasty.

    • No, that’s current law. You can’t electioneer at a polling station in QLD. I had to have an election official stand next to me because it was standing under the entrance awning shielding my new born from the rain while waiting for my wife which is technically a criminal offense. You can’t loiter within the exclusion zone of a polling station. You guys sound like yahoos.

      Seemed strange only one in ten of you would vote for Kev. It’s all coming into focus now.

  5. Maybe he could comment more on The Green’s vote in Lismore.

    Down from 25.1% to 14.2%.

    That’s a drop of 10.9%, a loss of over 43% support.


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