It’s now under 2 months until the ACT election! I remember when it was 6 months to go and thinking it was so close – now, 2 months feels so close I could touch it. Over the past few weeks I’ve also noticed a change in the electorate: fewer people are asking, “Haven’t we just had an election?” (a fair question!) and there are suddenly a few more candidates in the field which helps with the ‘feel’ of election season.
Here’s a few things that have been big themes in my campaign over the past two weeks.
Speaking of candidates in the field, last week – by total coincidence – a Liberal candidate (who I genuinely like a lot even if I disagree with them) and I doorknocked almost the exact same streets in the same time period. Some streets they did before me, and some streets I did before them. This candidate no doubt had their strategy and I had mine, and they just so happened to intersect. For me, I’d told the area I was coming doorknocking the following week, and it was important I didn’t break the promise.
By no means do I recommend what happened as a campaign strategy! But it was fascinating to see how residents reacted to being offered a direct policy comparison literally at their doorstep in one week. It was the same week Canberra Liberals announced a hospital policy instead of light rail. On a day that I doorknocked houses that had been visited by the Liberal candidate in the days before, resident after resident told me, “Don’t get rid of light rail” and “I’m a supporter of light rail”. One told me it was a game changer for him; that he was voting for Labor because of it. Others said that they’re looking forward to the jobs that will be created (and the flow-on effects for our local businesses), that it will complete the city, that even though they’re retiring and moving away soon they’ll still come back to ride light rail in Canberra. I’ve never been more proud to offer positive policies.
Being a candidate is a privilege. I’ve said that time and time again. You never know what story someone is going to share with you. At a stall last week I met a lovely woman who told me she was buying flowers – to visit her husband’s grave. She and her husband had been married for 50 years and he’d passed just a few years ago. We spoke about the hole it leaves; that things are never the same again.
I really appreciated speaking with this woman and that she candidly shared her story with me, especially last week – Friday 12 August was a year since my own father’s death. I was lucky enough to have my dear mum (who I’ve written about in probably my most revealing piece here) visiting during a hard week for both of us to help out with the campaign. Family is everything.
Now for something a bit lighter:
I’ve knocked on a lot of doors and tapped on a lot of windows. But most of all I’ve rung doorbells. And I’ve discovered something: most doorbells do not work.
Especially ones that look like this:
Have you checked your doorbell recently?