Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you. I think I need a really big ballad this week (cue violins).
Residents of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), also known as Canberra, voted in their local election last Saturday. It was a different election, a healing election.
Normally elections are quite festive with community-run cake, book and plant stalls, as well as the much anticipated democracy sausage sizzles, located next to polling stations. However, due to the pandemic, these activities could not go ahead. 60 percent of voters had already cast their ballots by polling day so the polling stations were unusually devoid of crowds.
Campaign signs and campaign volunteers are not allowed close to polling stations in the ACT so the atmosphere is less intimidatory. These signs are set well back from the polling station.
I came across one of the candidates, Alan Tutt (far right – position in the photo, not politics that is) from the newly formed Belco Party, catching his breath at my local shops.
Alan was in desperate need of a coffee in the final hours of the campaign. It is hard putting yourself out there for criticism (and hopefully some praise). It was particularly tough campaigning in a Covid-safe manner. All the candidates worked tirelessly and are to be commended.
Notably absent from the campaign was the bickering, back-stabbing and polemics that have characterised many elections both in Australia and overseas for a number of years. The contest was fought primarily on policy and that was such a relief. I was very moved by the victory and concession speeches. The leaders were so gracious, so kind.
In the end, the ACT electorate voted to return the incumbents to power. Leader of ACT Labor and the head of the ACT government, Andrew Barr, said in his victory speech, “We must value our democracy, we must value our participation, and the right of everyone to participate and to be able to vote…. I want to [also] acknowledge that a democracy only works if you have a strong opposition.”
Shall we have the big song now? It is not an Aussie song, but the sentiment is universal.
Take care everyone. Be kind, be good.