Today in Tasmania we are having a state election. It came as somewhat of a surprise when it was announced just three or four weeks ago as it was not due until this time next year. I had to scramble to get myself enrolled to vote in my new electorate in time as I only had about a week to get it done. Luckily I managed it and today was my first time voting in Sisters Beach.
I was expecting differences this time. I even took my own pencil in case there were none in the booths but they had supplied them, nor was there any Covid check in, probably because voters would be in and out in minutes. Sisters Beach has a very small permanent population and some people had chosen to vote early at pre-poll venues in Burnie. I went down at lunch time and there were actually more poll workers than voters. I was the only one!
I wasn’t even sure if there would be a polling booth here. In the past voting has always been done at the local fire station, the only public building in Sisters Beach. I just wasn’t sure it would be this time as Covid has changed so many things. However, luckily for me that had not changed.
I know that many venues that would normally host a BBQ, cake stall or other fundraiser will not be able to do so this year due to Covid restrictions. Nearby Boat Harbour is having a fundraiser at their booth and I hope they will do well from it. These fundraisers are very important to the organisations that put them on. At Geeveston we always had the Op Shop open on election day if the school was being used as a polling place. We would put extra tables of goods outside and always made a lot of money on those days.
I did miss the social aspect of election day. I think that in more crowded areas people are being encouraged not to linger chatting to neighbours and friends. That was something we always did both in Geeveston and in Hallett Cove when we lived in South Australia. I hope that by the next election things will be more normal although what I experienced today might be normal for Sisters Beach.
As for the actual election I have to admit that I spent a lot less time than usual reading about the candidates and the policies. Our state Liberal government has been in power for 11 years now but of course the thing that most people will focus on is what happened in 2020. Most people I think feel that the Premier did a good job of keeping Tasmanians safe and that will probably guide how they vote. They will probably be reelected on the strength of that alone. I think that had we had a Labor government they probably would have dealt with the Covid situation in a very similar way. I personally think that we should vote on policies not personalities but I don’t think the majority of people really do that.
The other day I did try to read through the promises of all three parties. They all had long lists of what they would spend money on. They all sound very nice, if they happen. Health, housing and education are big issues as always.The current government has had 11 years, 10 where Covid was not an issue, to sort those things out though.
I made my choices based on what I believe. It may not make a scrap of difference to the outcome of the election but at least I have had my say.
Tasmania uses the Hare-Clark vote counting system. Here are a couple of links for those who hope to understand it.