There were blue skies across most of Australia today as communities came together, descending on local primary schools. The smell of sizzling sausages and freshly baked goods was in the air. Signage abounded: “Polling Place” and signs for various political parties, and their slogans. I walked with my kids to vote and catch some of the community vibe. My sons played on the playground and kicked a footy on the oval while their dad took his turn cooking the sausage sizzle.
A major part of Election Day was this year celebrated through hashtags – #democracysausage and #snagvotes. Voters could find their local democracy sausage online. This week, the #ausvotes emoji changed from a green and gold ballot box to a sauce-covered sausage on a slice of bread. This shift shows the symbolic power of the humble snag.
Australians might be walking alone into polling booths, wielding small green ballots and gigantic white ballots (the New South Wales senate ballot paper was more than one metre long today), but they are uniting around barbeques and bake sales. We might vote for different parties and alternate futures, but we come together over the national sausage in a bun. Some polling places are serving up Halal meat, vegetarian options and gourmet varieties. Others are sticking to the traditional supermarket sausage. Some have taken to social media to celebrate or criticize their local sausage. Opposition leader Bill Shorten has been criticised across social and traditional media for the sideways way he approached his Election Day bun. No doubt Bunnings has taken a hit on their barbeques today. Meanwhile, bake stalls had puntastic fun with offerings like Malcom Turnballs, Bill Shortbread, Jacqui Lambingtons and Plebislice.
The Brexit decision has fed into the last week of the election campaign, with the current government claiming that this is a time for stability rather than change, or as they’ve spun it: “chaos”. In reality, neither of the two major parties are very far from the ideological centre. And there are plenty of independents in the mix. This Know Your Parties post gives a rundown of who and what we’ve been voting for. One thing the Brexit vote showed us is the importance of thinking carefully about each vote, and making it count. With polls closing on the East coast in minutes, I hope Australians have enjoyed and seized the opportunity to put their people power to paper.
So, I’m posting this before the election results start rolling in and I get caught up in the elation or despair. I’m posting while I still have the warm sizzle of the democracy sausage echoing in my mind. Soon I’ll settle down with a #democracywine to watch the future unfold.