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Voting for values

I WAS exposed to and involved in politics from an early age.

My Dad consistently stood as the opposition candidate (ALP) in Queensland’s safest Liberal seat.

Over 12 long years he made it a marginal seat.

One year someone even voted for our dog, which travelled around with Dad on election day.

From 13 I was handing out How to Vote cards and at around 15 I was spat on while doing that.

On another election day I was verbally abused by a so-called family friend who was handing out How to Vote cards for another candidate.

I wondered why people became so irrational when it came to politics.

To me state government elections were very grass-roots, unlike federal elections which seemed to be about issues too large for me to grasp.

They didn’t seem to be about power, but about people working together for the common good of their community.

At the booths I enjoyed intelligent conversations with mostly amiable people who all believed in shaping their local community for the better.

At church, people were always congratulatory and open that they (mostly) did not vote for my Dad, but appreciated his running.

The final year my Dad ran I was taking the numbers phoned in by the scrutineers.

It was looking close and our traditional election ‘wake’ was surprisingly jovial.

Then television crews started arriving and the TV results changed from “too close to call” to “Lumsden”!

In the end he lost by fewer than 200 votes; mostly postal.

He worked hard to provide an alternative and went out of his way (using his own time and money) to meet people and find out what they wanted and needed.

Through hard work and dedication he strived to make the community the best place it could be.

These are the values I expect in candidates.