Democracy day at Old Parliament House
Katie Wallis and Karen Hogan. Photo: Lyn Mills
Elections remind me of the Olympics. Too much time and money spent in the lead up for the moment of glory for winners, or for the losers, pain and recriminations behind a brave face. But just like the Olympics a fixed four years is what we should have.
And after watching queues snake their way around Old Parliament House, admittedly with a happy bunch of voters keen to be part of this historic occasion, it’s time for electronic voting.
But what a good idea it was to open up the old house and put it to good use as a Super Booth with interstate and locals able to vote in this now Museum of Australian Democracy, and while the powers that be expected 600, some 4000 by mid-afternoon had them gobsmacked.
Pencils – old-fashioned 2B’s – were sharpened and Katie Wallis and Karen Hogan were stamping out “I voted at Old Parliament House 2013 ” badges for all and sundry as the queues snaked around the the house’s senate chamber, where the kids could duck in for a quick lesson from the museum guides, past the party rooms and exhibition spaces to make it back into Kings Hall for another circuit before voting.
That was for the locals, lured to the house to enjoy all the trappings of a regular voting experience with a sausage sizzle fund-raiser, a caffeine fix at the cafe and a one-hour plus, patience-testing wait for many.
‘‘Interstaters’’ with fewer numbers had a shorter wait, though the variants in voting forms from every electorate in the country must have sent Australian Electoral Commission staff bonkers.
Not-so bonkers was an attentive security guard Dave Bradley, who turned his hat into a water bowl for a big, cuddly German Shepherd called Zuki, whose master got caught up in the zig-zagging queues and he got a bit thirsty waiting.
And nicest of all, the party faithful and volunteers handed out the how-to-vote cards, a reminder you’re getting old when they seem to be too young to vote.