Thursday, 28 October 2010

A Day in the Life of the Campaign

Picture in the Oz

I thought I'd give you some insight into life on the campaign trail. This has been my day today.

At 6 am I listened to the news which mentioned that the Greens had done well in the latest Newspoll. I was pleased but did not take too much notice because you can never be too sure if this will play out over time.

I left home before the paper arrived to get to Kensington Station before 7. First I unpluggged the electric car, then rolled up the power cord, put it in the boot, and glided quietly out into the traffic.

I was going to meet a team of volunteers to hand out flyers to commuters.

Before I could get out of the car the phone rang - Steve Price on MTR. Would I do an interview after 7? I sat in the car and did the interview. I was told again that the Greens had polled 19% in Victoria - way above our 2006 vote. It seems incredibly high, but I'd much rather have that poll result than a worse one.

Was I confident? The pundits said I had a good chance, but it would be up to the electors on polling day. I was told that Helen Kroger had attacked the Greens in the Herald Sun. She said that a vote for the Greens was a vote for euthanasia and gay marriage and higher taxes. Was this right? I said she had two out of three right - we support dying with dignity legislation and same sex marriage legislation and would do all we could to bring that legislation about.

There were other questions about Hazelwood, about the margin in Melbourne (only 600 need to change their vote from last time).

The interview over, I joined our team in beautiful weather outside the station, and we had a very friendly reception from the people of Kensington as we chatted and handed out flyers.

Marian - my campaign manager - had printed out the online version of an article about the Greens in the Australian, complete with a photograph, which I read in between greeting Kensington folk.

At about 9 am we ran out of flyers and walked across the road to Luncheonette (which just about seems like a branch office) for breakfast (I had waffles with walnut and rhubarb).

While waiting I went to the newsagent and bought the papers. I read the Herald Sun first. A huge debate in the Liberal party about whether to preference us over Labor. Was John Howard really attacking us? How hurtful! And saying our policies were "worse than Labor's".

Then I realized my photo was on the front page of the Australian. It seemed slightly surreal.

We had a cheerful brekkie and then into the car to the North Melbourne office to unload the equipment. Todd (who is working with me through the campaign) and I walked through Flagstaff Gardens to my chambers to meet some potential consituents on several important issues.

After the meeting I tried to keep up with emails - a losing battle - and made and fielded numerous phone calls on campaign issues.

At 12.30 I raced with Todd to Victoria Market. There I met Kathleen Maltzahn, Cyndi Dawes and Anne Martinelli - Greens candidates for Richmond, Brunswick and Northcote respectively - for a photo shoot together for a newspaper. Together we are standing for the lower house seats the afficianados say could be won by the Greens in a month's time.

The photographer satisfied, we had a hasty but happy lunch together in the sun at the Market before going our separate ways. We've been campaigning together for over a year now, and there is a strong bond between us.

Back at chambers Matt, a photographer from the Leader, turned up for a further media shoot. I sat at a desk and then went outside and took various poses as directed while he snapped away.

Todd and I hurried out to catch a tram up to Parliament House. On the tram the phone rang for another interview with a journalist. Engrossed in answering the questions, I missed the stop and had to walk back to Parliament House.

I went through security and I felt a strange sensation as my belt buckle broke - into the bin with it. I waited in the parliamentary foyer listening to John Brumby addressing a gathering in Queen's Hall through the doorway.

I was there because Sky TV wanted to film a debate between the candidates for Melbourne in the Legislative Assembly Chamber on issues related to the Melbourne electorate. Soon Luke Martin (the Liberal candidate) joined me and we were escorted into the green chamber, where chairs were arranged for the interview. Bronwyn Pike (the Labor incumbent) had already arrived. We sat in a row and were questioned for half an hour or so on public transport, planning, violence, and our vision for Melbourne.

I came out into the broad sunshine of a glorious spring afternoon, and Todd and I walked down to Elizabeth Street together. He headed off to uni and I caught a tram to the North Melbourne campaign office.

There I caught up with a series of phone calls. There were more media interviews - and I was on the phone trying to give sensible answers to questions when volunteers began to arrive. Finally I got off the phone and we sat around for a meeting about doorknocking and posters - in between some more phone calls to the media.

After the meeting Marian asked me to proof read some documents I had written for distribution.

Out to the car. I began driving and the phone rang. I pulled over. A long call. Then another one before I could take off.

I arrived home at 8.15 just before my friend Lynda arrived to cut my hair.

Georgia and I (the only ones home) had tea together, and I went to the computer to check on a legal submission for the Tyler Cassidy inquest. I rang my junior in the case and discussed it for a time.

There was a text message inviting me to breakfast with Bob Brown at 7.30 tomorrow morning, and I've accepted. I have a few other things to do, but it's nearly 11 and it will soon be time to hit the hay.

That's my day.


  1. Brian, that's a very busy and productive day. I was not surprised by the predictable desperation from John Brumby - fancy him asking for Liberal votes? It goes to show how close the thinks Labor and Liberal policies are, and how much support the Greens policies have.

    Victorians want a fast, efficient and integrated public transport system (not just more buses), their native forests protected from logging, and sustainable water management rather than extremeley expensive solutions such as desalination.

    There is no effective difference between Labor and the Liberals-Nationals on these matters.

    Greens elected into the parliament will be able to achieve great things, rather than the substandard "business as usual" dross from both Brumby and Baillieu.

    Lets hope enough people see the light and don't fall for fear mongering and untruths from career politicians - whose only real interest is "gettting in"

  2. Bloody hell! They'll have to plug YOU in next in order to keep up that kind of energy until election day.

    And beyond, of course :)