24 September 2020

Probing the polls: border exemptions and campaign corflute wars

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Election corflutes

Election corflutes are essential for candidates but is there any love from voters? Photo: Michelle Kroll.

As the COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease on interstate border closures, most of you agree that it’s reasonable to allow people with urgent family matters to cross state borders, even in a lockdown.

Last week’s poll asked: “Should compassionate quarantine exemptions be allowed for interstate travel from the ACT?”

A total of 1235 people participated. Your options were to vote ‘No, this is the price of staying safe and while irritating, needs to be respected’ – this option received 27 per cent of the total, or 332 votes.

Alternatively, you could vote ‘Yes, we’ve had no COVID-19 for months and these cases can be managed’. This option received 903 votes or 73 per cent of the total.

This week, we’re wondering about those blasted election signs that turn the bush capital into corflute city every time an election comes around.

Many profess to hate them and there are regular stories about corflute-bashing excursions carried out by party faithful who presumably have enough time on their hands to be mucking around on the Parkway at 2:00 am.

Others have pointed out that it’s a cunning politician who snags the poles and posts on which to attach their corflutes, making it less likely that someone will try to sideswipe them with a car.

But this week, Canberra Progressives candidate Bethany Williams reminded us that there is another side to the corflute madness. If you are a minor party candidate or an independent, how do you create name recognition among voters swamped by a Hare Clarke Melbourne Cup field of candidates?

“If you don’t know who we are, you won’t vote for us. And at a time when we desperately need to have a more diverse crossbench to ensure more scrutiny and transparency, minor parties and independents need your votes more than ever.

“When we have a more diverse Legislative Assembly, we will have better democracy. And this will be a really positive thing for Canberra,” Bethany said.

READ MORE If you’re complaining about corflutes, spare a thought for the minor parties

Some readers agreed with her.

Leigh Brady said: “Yes! So much this article! Papers are dying out, and all the research shows that social media is a very poor channel for distributing political materials. For many people – the only way they even know there is an election on is the corflutes.

“The corflutes are there to remind you to get off your ass and research the potential candidates. As a voter, it’s your responsibility!

“I have no time for all the whingers who get up in arms about some corflutes for a few weeks every three years. And even less for the disrespectful people who damage or deface corflutes.”

But there was no love lost for the corflutes among many others.

Lee Lee said: “If you’re a small party, innovate and do things differently! That’s what would get my attention not signs everywhere that make me angry and therefore less likely to vote for them.”

Mark Scarborough isn’t a fan of corflutes either. He advises: “Get involved in your community, do positive things and build your reputation and recognition that way. A corflute does not tell me about you or your views or policies. Ban the corflute.”

What do you think? This week our poll asks:

Should we ban election corflutes?

View Results

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Kosher Ayatollah3:09 pm 28 Sep 20

Robson Rotation is why we need so many corflutes. Candidates are fighting within their own parties for recognition, not the party itself.
Do we still need 60 permutations of each ballot paper to stop the effect of donkey votes?

So, the idea of corfultes is that if someone sees a name, they’ll be inclined to vote for that name for that reason? I find this hard to believe. People – well, I, at least – vote for parties. Or against them. The only thing that really matters is what name you choose for your political party. That’s what appears on the ballot. Corflutes are rubbish, and the idea that they are important is basically superstition.

Mike Stelzig - Canberra Progressives for Yerrabi7:22 pm 24 Sep 20

I am a candidate for Yerrabi. You won’t see a single corflute of mine in public places. Major parties have the money to put thousands of corflutes out there. Then they get the money back from the Electoral Commission when they win. This leaves independents and minor parties out of pocket as we usually don’t win. They then all end up in landfill. Thousands of them.

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