Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Campaign Update

The election will be in a few more days, and now it is time to examine what I have done, and what I hoped to achieve.
I didn't set out to win the election, although I have policy in case that happens. I set out with the agenda of promoting the issue of Hamidur Rahman and the injustice of the coronial finding that had his parents blamed for his accidental death. I am running in Blaxland, a very safe ALP seat in which the incumbent, Jason Clare, is being groomed (imho) to be a future ALP leader.

In order to run for the lower house seat, I needed fifty signatures from people registered to vote in the division. That last bit, 'in the division' is important. I had thought it acceptable to get the signatures from people who go to my church which is not located in the division. I learned my mistake before handing in the signatures to the electoral office, and I walked from Carramar to Bankstown stopping at small businesses and door knocking at some homes. Early on, I stopped at the home of an elderly woman and her late middle aged son. They were ethnically Serbian and he was very keen to drive home the point that Serbs were not terrorists. In a conversation extending three hours, because he wouldn't sign my paper, or return it to me either, he explained that if the Serbs were terrorists the world would have ended because they would have destroyed it. I shared about my Serb students and my ethnic Russian back ground. At the end of that day, I had about five signatures and I was sure a few of them were bogus. That was a Sunday, and the signatures were due on Thursday. I asked some old acquaintances whose business I frequented. They gave them to me on Wednesday morning. I thought I had enough, and so I went to my volunteer work as an ESL teacher, and then went to the electoral office to hand in the signatures. I had 120 signatures in all. Some of my neighbors had refused to sign, saying they didn't know who I was, and possibly not liking that I wasn't the local ALP. One former colleague suggested it was shameful I might oppose the son of another former colleague, but they signed it too.
I gave the signatures to the electoral office on the Wednesday afternoon. I found I was six short. So I walked around Bankstown, and visited some one hundred shops before coming back with six signatures, five of which weren't valid. I went home and called a local radio station and a few friends who lived in the area. I woke up at 4am the next morning, and waited at the local railway station until i got what was needed by 7:30 am. Then I went to the electoral office with seven more signatures .. and all seven were valid. I handed over $500 cash, which I don't like to carry around ever, and headed off to work in the tutorial centre I work at on Thursdays.

Once I was accepted as a candidate, I was given an information pack and had an opportunity to meet with other candidates. Jason didn't show, he had a campaign manager stand in for him. I note Jason has not said or done anything local during the election, except to claim the people of Blaxland have priorities of Education, Health and the economy, leaving out migration which I feel is the most important local issue, and highlighting three which his government has failed abysmally on. Collecting the signatures had allowed me to talk with people I don't normally meet, and it was clear to me that they were very unhappy that the ALP is divided from the top down, and they didn't like the ALP policies, but they still wanted the ALP to do well. There are some very good people who support the ALP, and they are hurting from being taken for granted. The debate over which Gillard would represent them as PM can't be doing them any good. In my fantasy land, when I win, some of those ALP supporters will work in my back office too, although my policy agenda is Liberal and I will vote that way in parliament, to stay in touch with the locals, I'll need those supporters.

I did an interview with a paper, and then another. I spoke of the Hamidur Rahman issue and they reported it .. but it was buried off line. I called the journalist to thank them and to ask if there was the possibility of a follow up, but they hung up on me twice. I left a message with the editor and was assured they would return my call, but that was three weeks ago and now it is too late .. they will not write about the issue before the election.

My email box was spammed with material for candidates by lots of people making assumptions about my running as an independent. I answered some surveys. The Christian lobby got in touch with me several ways, and I answered all of their stuff. But I don't feel that Australia is overpopulated, too religious or under siege, so the bit players I ignored while establishing my agenda. I set out my policy as part of my campaign launch before being nominated. I learned I needed to append all my documents with my name and address. The result has been my letter box has been rifled a few times.

When I decided to run in the federal election, I learned I needed to drop my US nationality, as I am a dual citizen, born in the USA. I approached the US embassy and declared my intention, but it is a process that will not be completed until after the election. I meet the standards of a nominating candidate. I am unhappy at dropping US citizenship, and had I run for the NSW government, as I intended to, I wouldn't need to do that.

Because of the corruption surrounding the Hamidur Rahman issue, I have been unemployed for more than three years. I had to delay paying bills to raise the money to nominate. I also needed to raise money to pay for how to vote cards and campaign posters. But with a few days to go I have only got a few cards and a single poster and so I will not be able to spread the word as I would have liked. I tried to give the sole poster to my acquaintance, but they refused, suggesting I post it illegally which I won't. I quietly resolved never to shop there again.

The last Thursday before the election, I am going to work, but after I am going to meet with a local Falun Dafa group. I already know their story and I support them, but I think it is important to meet with them too. A Chester Hill anglican church invited me to have a sausage on the election day. It could be legit, or it could be someone saying I'm fat. I replied but got no response. A few emailed to ask my policies.

On the last week, the second local paper interview published about my candidacy. They left out the Hamidur Rahman issue. Three more papers have promised candidate stories. I got in touch with a radio station on a Sunday that broadcast the outrageous thoughts of a failed candidate. They refused to let me speak. I emailed them to let them know what my agenda was, and they replied a week later to say the producer had read my email.

It isn't over yet. On the Saturday, I am getting a lift from that printer to the 28 different polling booths to hand out the 40k how to vote cards and posters. I will only be able to drop off the cards, and hope volunteers will help hand them out. I will hand out cards too, I'll even hand out ALP ones if people are interested .. and they let me. But I am a Liberal supporter and want the Liberals to achieve government.

This has been written and authorized by David Daniel Ball 14/168 Sandal Crescent Carramar NSW 2163

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