They're courted, flattered and lavished upon by our politicians. But the battle for the hearts and minds of Australia's undecided voters is a frustrating sight to behold, writes Andie Fox.
Dear undecided voter,
I am tired of reading about you in my newspapers and the seeming endless vox pops with you on my television. I am tired of every politician in the country courting you and I am very tired of your terribly small but terribly crucial numbers.
I am tired of listening to your ill-informed views. Yes, ill-informed. There, I said it. Your views are ignorant.
Everyone is trying to be nice to you in the hope that they win you over, but the truth is they are all tired of you too. I am tired of listening to you say how you’re a swinging voter when so often it seems you aren’t one at all. You just wanted the opportunity to suggest you’d vote for the other side so you can say how much you now hate them.
I am tired of you saying you want more leadership from the major parties and what little leadership each of them offers you have clearly been ignoring. You seem to know almost nothing of the policy debate that has happened during the election campaign and instead speak in slogans, borrowed from negative advertising campaigns. I am tired of you believing in nonsense. I am tired of being patient with you about your anxiety about the Goddamn boats. The boats are not a problem. Get a grip, read some facts. Government debt is also not the problem you think it is; a household budget is nothing like a government budget. Even the International Monetary Fund has changed its position on fiscal stimulus.
I am tired of your ‘what’s in it for me?’ entitlement mentality combined with your jaded complaints about politicians lacking vision.
Undecided voter, you are a big part of the reason why neither side of politics shows much leadership. Because if only, undecided voter, you were undecided for an actual reason. If only you were genuinely caught between a generous parental leave scheme and better ongoing support for childcare – that kind of conundrum we could understand. If only you were deliberating between a concern for the environment and your ability to make a profit from your farm. But instead you think in contradictions, saying things like Labor spends too much money and anyway, I want to vote for the Coalition so we get the bigger parental leave scheme. You think the Labor Party and the Liberal Party are influenced by internal interest groups but that the Greens and Katter’s Australian Party are not. Just how is any political party expected to make sense of this? No wonder they are frozen in policy inaction.
And then after all that? When we finally come to the end of an election campaign with five weeks of your um-ing and ah-ing, what do you announce about your voting intentions? You declare that you’re voting for Labor to keep the interest rates down, or that you are voting for the Coalition because the cost of living is too high. (I am tired of you falling for bullshit). Or worse, that you are voting for Kevin Rudd because you think he missed out on his turn. Or for Tony Abbott because you can’t quite put your finger on it but he seems more ... “real”.
Oh, undecided voter! I am so tired of you.
This piece is based on a post written by the author about the 2010 election campaign. In re-writing it the author was dismayed to see how little had to be updated to reflect her views on the current election campaign.