It may be easier to get an interview with the Pope than to talk to a candidate for the major parties on the ground in the ACT election.
"Can we have a chat?" we asked Labor's Suzanne Orr as she stood handing out leaflets in Gungahlin on Saturday morning.
"I have to check with my party office," she replied. Permission never came through.
The Liberals were no better.
Candidate Jacob Vadakkedathu was friendly enough but "the reality is that we have to get permission before talking to the media".
"If I was independent, I would talk to you but I need permission," he said.
We were urged to phone Deborah Seccombe, the party's "media advisor".
The mistress of spin was pleasant enough but, you see, the candidate can't talk to you now because this is "peak time" for handing out leaflets. At the very moment she was saying this, Mr Vadakkedathu was chatting to Labor's Ms Orr.
Say what you like about Ms Orr but she's not going to vote Liberal.
The level of control freakery was not evident with the independent candidate also plying the street in the canyon between the two bits of the shopping centre.
Dr Fuxin Li's supporters were handing out face masks.
He told The Canberra Times that if elected: "I will stand up for the local community."
He was the founder of the Australian School of Contemporary Chinese and said he was proud of the multicultural nature of his adopted city and country.
"We all work together for Australia and for Canberra," he said.
But what did the actual voters make of it all?
They weren't overly anxious about the upcoming election.
Indeed, there was some satisfaction with the current state of Canberra and of Gungahlin, in particular.
"There's been an improvement in public transport here," Jarrod Cornish said, standing a few metres from the new tram terminus.
"I tell my family they should come and live here, so someone must be doing something right."
Others had no burning anger at the current situation but felt a change of government would be good for democracy.
"Labor has been in for so many years. It's not healthy," Keith Thomas said.
He and his wife, Jan, who live in Weetangera but who were cycling through Gungahlin were concerned about the high-rise buildings in Canberra.
"It's out of keeping," she said. "It's developers getting greedy."
"They're trying to make Civic another Melbourne or Sydney," Mr Thomas said.
They thought the initial conception of Canberra as a suburban, low-rise city was being threatened.
They were also concerned about the amount of poverty in the ACT - "the increasing homelessness in Canberra which just shouldn't be in a place like this", as Mrs Thomas put it.
Kristin Hargreave was concerned about the lack of sports facilities, particularly as her seven-year-old daughter Ebony grows up.
"The cost of sport is ridiculous," the mother said as her blue-eyed daughter smiled.
Will a change of government make a difference? "Probably not".
On his disability scooter, dog Spotty on the front and a big Australian flag at the back, Ray Charlton offered similar fatalism.
"There's too many public servants who vote Labor just to keep their jobs," he said.
"They could help pensioners by dropping the tax on pensioners (he smokes 30 a day)."
But these were all grumbles and not burning rants of anger. It's hard to detect deep discontent about Canberra.
All the while, the candidates kept plugging way. Some voters took a leaflet. Some didn't.
Liberal and Labor negotiated a space so their placards wouldn't clash with each other. They seemed friendly enough.
Democracy ticked on, everybody taking it for granted.