It’s on. The campaign that is. With less than three months to go until election day on 17 October, the drip of party promises and single-issue offensives is about to become a deluge.
Especially when you consider that the caretaker period begins on 11 September and pre-poll voting is being encouraged, starting from 28 September.
So there is not much time to waste if you are still weighing just where your votes will rest.
I say votes because we have multi-seat electorates based on proportional representation, and while the intricacies of the Hare-Clark system elude most people, its benefits include the flexibility of stepping outside the party ticket if you so wish.
Like the Senate, your selections can come from anywhere across the ballot paper and in any order so a uniform party vote isn’t mandatory and you can pick and choose according to your inclination about who would be the best persons for the Assembly.
In fact, the Robson rotation method that randomises the order of candidates discourages simply ticking down the boxes even in the party columns.
This gives the voter real power.
Only two members of the Legislative Assembly are not recontesting this year – Liberal Vicki Dunne and Green Caroline Le Couteur – but frankly, a few more could have joined them to ensure more fresh faces and new ideas come into the chamber.
A couple even hold down some key positions but that’s no reason for them to be returned.
As the postcards and leaflets start to pile up on the kitchen table, some interesting candidates that look like they would make a good fist of local politics are coming to light.
They don’t have to be just making up the numbers so their incumbent buddies can go back to what they were doing.
They can leapfrog sitting members into the chamber so we can have a little electoral recycling.
Labor, Liberal, Green, Independent, it doesn’t matter as long you believe they have something to contribute because the Assembly more often than not is dealing with bread and butter issues where ideology isn’t relevant, and more often than is credited works together to produce outcomes for the people of Canberra.
So why not mix it up a little and put together a winning list of candidates that can get the job done and not be party time-servers?
It may take some thinking and take a little longer in the booth but at least you can walk away knowing you gave it your best shot contributing to the make-up of an Assembly and government that might just be more productive, accountable and creative.
But I can hear it now. Chaos! A recipe for gridlock. Well, we’re not that far apart politically in the ACT and it doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.
I’ll be looking for new faces, new ideas, sitting members or no, and not necessarily following party lines.
If nothing else it might make a few of them a little nervous and keep them on their toes.