21 May 2022

Optimism, and a bit of tiredness, as Canberrans head to the polls on election day

| Lottie Twyford
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People voting in Lyneham

Lyneham Primary School was busy with voters keen to have their say and snag their democracy sausage. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

With the smell of sausages wafting on the breeze of a glorious autumn day, Canberrans were in no rush to get to the front of the polling queue today.

Around town, the sentiments varied from hope to exhaustion, with many keen to get back to normal after the campaign.

There was also a pretty strong sentiment of excitement about the prospect of a close Senate race as the two incumbent senators from the major parties faced pressure from independents and the minor parties.

Volunteers at Giralang Primary School

Volunteers at Giralang Primary School. Photo: Zachary Griffith.

Old Parliament House – perhaps the city’s most iconic polling location – was busy, but people were calm and happy as they lined up, despite the presence of the ‘Freedom’ protesters a mere 100 metres away under the watchful eye of ACT Policing.

Issues weighing on voters’ minds ranged from integrity to climate change, housing affordability and economic management.

“Childish” and “petty” was how Anthony from Higgins described the campaign at a national level.

Anthony said he’d like to see an independent voice representing the ACT in the Senate.

Voting at Old Parliament House

Long voting queues at Old Parliament House. Photo: Zachary Griffith.

This sentiment was echoed by Brett from Yarralumla who said he’d be voting ‘1’ for Kim Rubenstein and ‘2’ for David Pocock.

The 72-year-old, who had contributed to Professor Rubenstein’s campaign, was decidedly unimpressed with Senator Seselja.

“Zed is just a bloke who appeared in the last couple of weeks, and I don’t know how he got my email, but he’s sent me half a dozen in the last couple of weeks,” he said.

Brett, like Anthony, described the Federal campaign as “just awful”.

Voters at Old Parliament House

Aiden, Liam, Connor, Veronica and Marcus voting at Old Parliament House. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

Further back in the line, Aiden had chosen to come down to Old Parliament House to vote with a group of his friends for the whole experience of the day.

He was hoping for a change in government this evening and wanted to see incumbent ACT Labor Senator Katy Gallagher re-elected.

“I’m hoping Katy gets up because she’s good, but I’m hoping [Liberal Senator Zed Seselja] doesn’t because he’s not good. I’d be interested to see whether Pocock or the Greens could knock him off,” he said.

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Aiden was preparing to vote below the line with a ‘1’ for Senator Gallagher.

Down South, at Gordon Primary School where Senator Seselja and independent David Pocock had cast their votes this morning, climate change, integrity and economic management were big issues on voters’ minds.

Others just wanted to get the “damn thing” over and done with as quickly as possible.

Voter Thomas from Gordon

Thomas, from Gordon, lined up to vote at Gordon Primary School. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

Gordon resident Thomas, who said he wasn’t into politics, had discussed with his family what he should do before coming down to the polling booth.

“Most of the advice I got was to vote Liberal because they [are better at managing the economy]. We keep our money and more money is always better,” Thomas said.

Overall, he’d found the national campaign “pretty funny – especially when Albo kept getting numbers wrong on TV”.

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Another voter said she wasn’t interested in politics and had done her best to tune out from the campaign. While she’d previously voted Labor and the Greens, she said she’d really make up her mind when she had her ballot papers in front of her.

Peter said he’d like to see politicians held to account for getting things wrong or lying. He’s casting his vote based on who he thought would take the best action on climate change.

Marianne voting at Telopea Park

Griffith resident Marianne said it was a privilege to vote. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

At Telopea Park School, first-time voter Suhani from Griffith lined up to vote with housing affordability weighing on her mind.

But while she’d been impressed with the campaigns of the independents, she also worried these were just “marketing gimmicks” that they wouldn’t be able to follow through with if they were elected.

For Marianne, also from Griffith, the fact she had the privilege to vote weighed on her mind as she lined up to vote.

“We are very lucky to live in a country where we’re able to do it. There are no machine guns, no police, it’s all peaceful and quiet,” she said.

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