The experience was worth it

After I saw the count of first preferences for Western Victoria on the VEC website on Sunday morning before the early voting was counted, I knew I had no hope. Just over 1000 votes prior to pre polling was nowhere near what was required to be competitive. I know from behind their cowardly privacy cloud that The Limbo Club will be carrying on like the children they are bleating all sorts of variations of “What a waste of time” or “Get the message Philthy”. There was one rude comment on Facebook that was duly dispatched to the delete box squealing “Ha Ha you lost”.

But you know what? It was not time wasted. I learned a lot from the six week campaign, and I’m sure the rest of People Power Victoria No Smart Meters would have learned a lot as well. It was a new party that only formed this year on the back of the angst towards how the smart meters were rolled out, so we were behind the eight ball from the start and it was always going to be hard to overcome that hurdle.

The main hold back was money. For me personally I had to take an advance from Centrelink and even then I went into debt to the tune of over $900. When you consider how much I did though that wasn’t too bad. It was mostly eaten up by travel and accommodation costs and printing and photocopying. The biggest expense as a one off was the hire of the function room at the Ararat RSL for the public meeting mid campaign.

The lack of genuine publicity was also a hold back. Nothing at all from the Ballarat Courier or the Geelong Advertiser (that hurt the most because they were the two biggest dailies in the region). In the case of the Courier I heard that they were pro East West Link – and because I was against it they wouldn’t put me in print. But I did get into the Ararat Advertiser and the Hamilton Spectator, with a mention in the Warrnambool Standard (the other daily in western Victoria), the Wimmera Mail Times and the Colac Herald. The Portland Observer published a snipped version of the Spectator story. There was also the debate/forum on Pulse FM radio in Geelong which I thought went pretty well.

I was ignored by ABC radio – mind you they went into damage control at a crucial time thanks to Abbott’s cuts so I guess I can forgive them for that. I couldn’t get anything in to WIN TV, although the cancelled protest by the Country Alliance in Warrnambool was a key factor there. 3BA also ignored me, which was disappointing.

But would I do it all again? You bet I would!

There are obviously things I need to do in the meantime. First off I need to put my membership of PPVNSM under the microscope. Is it the right party for what I want out of politics? I don’t know the answer to that yet, and the way the party responds to the election result for the party in general will have a say. Second, I need a nest egg. I need to save a lot of money for the next crack in 2018. I’ve already done some preliminary quoting with leaflets coming down to just under $950 – if I do everything at Officeworks that is. There are other expenses as well. There is also the issue of clearing my name in certain respects in Google search. That will take some work. It also means that all future contributions I make in terms of legal (Canby for instance) and political require my name to be in public. I hate that after what Canby did in 2012, but if I want to make a go of this I have no choice. As long as my address stays hidden.

Meanwhile, my political fighting in general will continue. Subject to my future with PPVNSM, I will continue to fight for the smart meters to be reviewed. There’s too many danger signals that haven’t been addressed by anyone – with the smoking gun by the World Health Organisation expressing caution of the cancer threat the main concern. There’s also the effort to get the federal Health Minister off his duff over vaccines – that one, unlike the smart meters, contains no danger signals whatsoever – as well as my fight for public housing and the minor issue of bus services and timetables in Ballarat. And it’s been on the backburner for awhile now thanks to the Best action and the Canby action (plus other bits and pieces including the events of July) but I intend to get a committee hearing into the issues of Autism up and running in Canberra. That might dovetail with the vaccines issue and I won’t mind that if it’ll get the paranoid parents to pull their heads in.

But come November 2018, I’ll be at it again at this point. Unless things happen in the mean time that make running for politics unnecessary. We’ll see.

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