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Talking to Australians on Election Day

Australia, one of only 10 countries that enforces compulsory voting, took to the polls this weekend to decide on a new government. Here's how some of us felt about that.

This weekend millions of Australians voted in a new Liberal/National Party Coalition Government led by Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. Some voters went to the polling places keen to exercise their democratic rights. Others just wanted to avoid the fine that the Government sends out to anyone who doesn't vote. Some were just interested in eating a sausage on white bread with a lot of tomato sauce. That's what we call ketchup here.


What do you think about compulsory voting?
It's rubbish


Are you going to vote?
Maybe. I might just take the fine. I've got better things to do than waste two hours of my life for politicians I don't care about.

Who should be Prime Minister?
Ernie Dingo


Sis, you got any spare change?
I'll give you some if you talk to me about the election.

Oh ok.
Are you excited about the election?

Will you vote?

Nah. I never done it before. It's important but I just don't do it, hey.

Who would be the best Prime Minister?
Percy Strong.

Who's that?
My mum's brother, he's alright.

So he's your uncle?
Yeah maybe.

Who's better, Kevin or Tony?
Kevin Rudd – isn't he cutting the dole? I think he is, hey. Then you have to work for your money hey. That's no good hey.

Here's some money.
Oh sis how about a note? You got a $5 note there?


What do you think about the election?
By 2050 America will be a third world country. Obama's fucked it up. That's the problem with socialism, they just write cheques.

We're talking about Australia, not America. 
These guys send our kids to go and die in Afghanistan, and then those guys come over here on boats, get put up in five star hotels, get food and cigarettes bought for them, free alcohol, and the poor old soldier comes back here and has to pay for his own beer and cigarettes! $20 for a pack of cigarettes.

But asylum seekers who come on boats aren't being settled in Australia anymore, they're going to Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Yeah, but no, cause that's bullshit. Remember when Rudd said he wasn't going to let the Japanese farm whales anymore? And then in that wikileaks, you remember wikileaks? He said in there he rang up the Japanese and said don't worry, I'm just doing this for the public, we're just keeping them happy. If he meant what he said about PNG then you'd have all the lefties screaming on the streets, all the big fat hairy lesbians carrying placards like they're outside an abortion clinic, so obviously they've been told just shut up and then after the election we'll reverse the decision.


These Afghans come and they get given a unit, they go where's my house? Why should I pay a half million dollar mortgage when they get it for free? What about my kids when they want a house? Should they throw their passports in the river and come back and say give me a free house and they'll get one?

What are we going to do when all the cotton fields and all the grazing land for the horsies is bought by China?

I wouldn't vote for Kevin. He's a megalomaniac. They say Tony's a misogynist. But Kevin upset that air hostess when he couldn't get his vegetarian meal, and he went to Afghanistan and had a hissy fit over a hairdryer. He chased and killed Gillard, stabbed her in the back. But then they say Tony Abbott's a misogynist! Yeah it's alright for Kevin but not for Tony.

So you think the media has been biased?
Well my wife worked at the ABC and she's right wing and mate they'll persecute you.

Who will you vote for?
The Labor Party wants to bring everyone down to the lowest level. I've got an idea – why don't you bring the lowest, grab him by the arse, and bring him up instead.

My mate's daughter, full big left-wing chick, a lesbian right, but that's her business, she met this chick in the public service and they fell in love. Then they broke up, and she claimed she had post-traumatic stress disorder and couldn't work. Guess how long ago that was – 6 years! She's been on full pay that whole time. I've broken up with 300 girls and I haven't got a dime! Now she's found some woman in America, Florida or somewhere, on the internet or something, and they're in love, and she wants us to transfer her money to America so she can live with her new lesbian lover. That's Labor for you. I work six days a week so I can look after my family, and boat people, and dole bludgers and greenies. They just sit around smoking pot all day. I say to them have any of youse ever had a job? And they say 'solar power', 'bring the boat people'.


Sorry, my battery's gone flat, we'll have to stop talking now.
Can't I tell you another story about lesbians?



Are you excited about the election?
Not particularly. Tony Abbott has the lead and that's not good. He's about making the rich get richer. He's spending $70 billion to stop taxing the big mining companies, and we're going to have to pay for it.

How did you vote?
I voted Labor. They do good for society. But the media is very corrupt, it's unfair how Liberals get all the limelight and Rupert Murdoch's vendetta against Rudd shouldn't be allowed, it's persuading the less knowledgeable people of Australia to vote for someone who won't help them.

Tony Abbott isn't articulate, his policies are horrible, not for the working class at all. He can't even manage his own debt. I wouldn't let him run my fish and chip shop, let alone the country. Joe Hockey is as big a moron. And they're liars. If they had Malcolm Turnbull in they would have had the election in the bag, so I'm glad they didn't do that.

If Liberals had it their way we'd be just like America, we wouldn't have any health care or welfare benefits, people cry about welfare here but I think what we spend on welfare is minimal compared to the other stuff we spend money on, like the army, it's a joke. I don't want to use my tax money to send the army over to places like Syria to kill little brown people for oil money, it's just not Australian.


Tony Abbott, like Howard, will rush in to follow America and do whatever they want.


Have you voted yet?
I don't want to vote. They all act like little clowns. I've never enrolled.

Who do you think should be Prime Minister?
I reckon Rudd should be Prime Minister. But I won't vote for him.

Stedman's Daughter: I'll vote for him!


How exciting has the election been?
This is my first election here, I'm a citizen now, but I'm from Jamaica. It wasn't very exciting. I didn't like any of the choices. Jamaican elections are less boring, but they are violent, and people just vote according to what their parents vote or where they come from, it's nothing to do with policies.

Who did you vote for?
I don't agree with either party, and neither of the leaders particularly inspired me. I'm pretty superficial – if I don't like the way you talk I won't vote for you. In the end I voted for Abbott – not because I like him, but because this government hasn't done great. Maybe the other guys can do better.

Who would inspire you to vote for them?
Can you transport Obama here?


How has election day been for you?
It's pretty boring.

How's the sausage?
Yeah it's alright. Have I got sauce on my teeth?

Yes. Who will you vote for?
I'll probably vote for the greens. They have the most stars in that Getup sheet.

Would you still vote if it wasn't compulsory?
Nah I'd be asleep.

Who should be PM?
Maybe someone like Steve Waugh or someone like that.


How excited are you about the election?
Not very much. They all lie. I don't believe any of them.


Should voting be compulsory?
Yeah, it should be. That way everyone gets in to vote.

Have you voted?
Yes, Labor. I've always been a Labor boy. I don't really like Kevin Rudd, it's just how I vote every time.

Who would you like to vote for?
I don't know. Me? Vote for Wally! I can fix this country. I'm a real Wally so why not? Do you want to buy some granola now?

Monica and Melinda

Are you excited about the election?
Not really excited. The parties aren't offering anything you want. If they had policies that I agreed with more it would be more exciting. We did research on every party – there were more than 40 parties, we wanted to know what they were all about.

Did that change your vote?
Definitely. There were parties that I wrote off just because of their name, but when I read about them I realized i'd made an assumption. Some have balanced views that make sense!

Should voting be compulsory?
Otherwise no-one would vote. And a problem with America is that the people who have extreme views are more likely to line up to vote.

Who did you vote for?
Greens first, we had the same top ten. Then Democrats, Secular Party. I didn't know what the word meant so I looked into it and realised they're cool.


Should voting be compulsory?
There should be a thing on the ballot so you can say 'I don't have an opinion'. But you should have to turn up.

Who'd be the best Prime Minister?
Me. I try to be mindful of everyone, you have to sell your soul a bit but I'd do it with discretion. My boyfriend has been here illegally for 17 years, he thinks Malcolm Turnbull. But he can't vote. Because he's here illegally. I think Bob Brown would be good. I heard him talk and I liked him.


Are you excited? Election Day! Woo!
I'd like to say I'm very excited but I'm not because it's compulsory and if you don't do it in three months you get a letter that you're fined $50! I've got it many times, you have to explain it, sorry I wasn't here, I was overseas, I was sick. But this year I did it in advance, it didn't take long.


What do you think of our politicians?
Kevin Rudd… is a good friend of someone. Maybe Chinese.

Why'd you vote greens?
Because if you don't vote for a while, they eventually catch up with you and say you're trying to get away without voting too much, if I vote this time maybe for the next ten years I won't have to.

Would you rather vote for anyone else?
No. But, I'd rather a female than a male prime minister.

They're pretty!

Do these novelty sunglasses look good on me?
Ah… no.


Did you vote today?
Nah, it's a waste of time. Backslapping with Kevin Rudd and Abbott. I don't want nothing to do with it. I didn't vote. If they find me, bad luck.

Who do you think should be Prime Minister?
John Farnham.


How'd you vote today?
I drew a cock and a skull. I don't like the government. I voted because I don't want to pay the $150 fine.

Why did you draw a cock and skull instead of exercising your democratic right?
I don't want to be part of all their conspiracies and shit, I'm not into it.

Who should be Prime Minister?
No-one. I want to start a revolution.


How excited are you about the election?
Moderately excited. It's great that we get a chance to vote but it sucks waiting in line. I'm a lazy privileged white person, I'm not used to it.

Should voting be compulsory?
Yes. We should all have a say. If it's not compulsory marginalised groups won't turn up and will miss out.


What do you think about the government?
They've gone alright. I feel a bit shit talking about politics because I don't know much but all that infighting and drama has been annoying.

Can I take a photo?
Yeah, but make sure you get Kim Kardashian in it.


How excited are you about voting?
Fairly excited. I like having a say. Not that it makes any difference in this seat because its so left-wing but I like having a protest vote.

How are you voting?
Liberal. I'm just totally over the soft-ass left wing attitude of Australia.

Should voting be compulsory?
No. You should have a choice. If you don't care, why vote.

Follow Carly on Twitter: @carlylearson