ELECTION ERECTION: Writing this weekly column has turned us on so much that it will now become a lively daily colour blog of the remaining two weeks of the federal election campaign. Irfan Yusuf explains.
This publication is a haven for political junkies like me who achieve erections out of elections, who watch out for every seat, consume and critique election coverage and listen out for the promises. Election campaigns are little more but tsunami waves of promises, each side trying to outbid the other in promising this and that to various community groups, (usually self-appointed) community leaders, special interest groups and anyone else that might sway a few more votes to your side or sway from your opponent.
And in politics, promises were meant to be broken. During the last Federal Election voters in the WA Federal electorate of Pearce werepromised by their MP Christian Porter a new swimming pool. The pool hasn’t been built yet, and recently the PM himself visited WA to repeat the same promise. Will there be a new swimming pool in this key marginal seat after the election? Or will the voters be left high and dry again?
Speaking of Pearce and WA, we at True Crime News Weekly have also broken an election promise. We promised you that I would be reporting live from WA during the dying days of the campaign. My focus would be on the seats of Pearce (being vacated by retiring Federal Minister Christian Porter) and Cowan (occupied by a knife’s edge by Labor MP Anne Aly). The plan was that I would obtain a visa from the Department of Immigration & Isolation of the Hermit Kingdom of Western Australia and then fly over without now needing to quarantine for 5 years. I would then bring readers in-depth analysis and heaps of snaps, video and sound-bytes of the campaigns in these seats on the ground.
Alas, we must break that promise. The editor has made an executive decision that it’s not worth the money to fly me across to the Hermit Kingdom. Also, the place is now aflush with various strands of the Covid virus.
The editor’s judgment has been spot-on. A close mate who lives around the corner from where I once lived in Perth has contracted the virus. I have no idea how my buddy is doing, whether she is affected by brain fog and fatigue and anything else that this virus brings even when hitting you in its mildest form.
If I catch covid and end up in hospital, I’d rather die or recover in the familiar surrounds of Royal North Shore than languish in Fiona Stanley or some other poorly resourced WA hospital after being stuck for hours in a ramped-up ambulance, only to potentially end up 6 feet under the ground thanks to some awful failure by a chronically under-resourced WA public health system that cost the life of at least one young child. Oh, and she died before WA opened its borders and was relatively Covid-free.
By the time this article hits your screens, pre-pollvoting will have started. A huge swag of you will be taking advantage of the opportunity to vote early (but hopefully not often) to avoid the last-minute rush that might see you infected if you haven’t already been so. Covid takes your sense of taste, which you’d rather not lose on polling day as you munch on your $2 democracy sausage.
This really is the pandemic election. The virus doesn’t discriminate on the basis of politics. ACT Labor Senator Katy Gallagher’s daughter has had it. Peter Dutton, who holds his metropolitan Brisbane seat by a mere 4.6%, has had it. Barnaby Joyce tested positive to it, though it’s hard to detect any behavioural changes in the Deputy PM from his usual bumpkin self.
ALP leader Albo only recently from it, and its after-effects haven’t done any favours to his tendency to fumble. Journalists desperate to get a media adviser’s position in a possible future Morrison government have been hitting Albo with gotcha question after gotcha question, hoping to capitalise on his possible brain fog. Lord knows how they will perform should they be struck down with omicron or a worse variant.
The PM has also been having a field day reminding punters of how Albo can’t recite economic indicators or policy intricacies on request, apparent evidence of why we should vote for the Coalition as the devil we know even if we barely trust. But who knows how Morrison will fare in the last days and weeks of the campaign should he be virus-struck.
How will Morrison fend off the climate independents threatening to unseat his Treasurer and other Liberal MPs in otherwise blue-ribbon Coalition seats if he has brain fog and fatigue? How will he convince religious voters that their alleged desire to discriminate against gay and trans kids should override their wish to not have their homes foreclosed because of risinginterest rates and inflation and poor job security if he can no longer smell or taste his own curry?
Covid-19 is a live issue in this election just as it has been in elections in other countries during the pandemic. The Morrison government’s performance in handling the pandemic will be judged by an Australian population either still recovering from lockdowns or (as in WA’s case) is having the full force of Covid hitting them hard for the first time.
This will be the last in our series of election erection columns. But don’t worry. The coverage will continue in the form of an election erection blog which goes live from this Thursday, 12 May and will finish once we have a definitive result. Our focus will be on the many key seats in Scott Morrison’s Sydney backyard – Reid, Parramatta, Lindsay, Hughes, Wentworth, Mackellar, Warringah and Lord-knows where else.
So strap yourselves into your best leather and enjoy the ride!