Handing out Liberal how-to-vote cards in Fitzroy, the Melbourne suburb that is the heart of the left’s sub-culture, you have to expect some abuse. But even as a veteran recipient of political insults, I was a bit surprised to have ‘torturer and murderer’ chucked in my direction twice, once as a particularly disgruntled and hyberbole-loving non-Liberal voter entered the polling place, and again as he left. I didn’t bother inquiring as to who, exactly, I had tortured and murdered. At a different booth later in the day, commenter Rajat Sood, who was handing out with me, was called a ‘fascist’, and I was told to ‘go to hell’.
But even in these areas of maximum social pressure not to be a Liberal, with a secret ballot they persist. At the torture-and-murder polling place the Liberal vote was 14%. It was a little higher on 15% at the fascist go-to-hell booth.
In the seat of Melbourne overall, despite political fashion and campaign dollars being on their side, the Greens were outpolled by the Liberals – only by 44 votes, but on a purely visual examination of the electorate you could be forgiven for thinking that there were only 44 Liberals total.
This is not just because virtually all the propaganda was Green or ALP. It is because, as I noted after the 2004 election, the left dress distinctively. This is particularly true of the Green women, though some of the men are a sight as well. One Green woman, in the spirit of the day perhaps, turned up in a particularly awful green dress and with a boyfriend wearing a fashion-crime bright green shirt. All three campaign workers minding that side of the polling booth entrance – me, the ALP, and the Green – cracked up laughing as soon as they were past. For all our political differences, we have a shared boring task on election day, and we are grateful for voters who keep us amused.