Monday, November 26, 2007


Australia enjoyed the boundless ecstasy of a Federal election on Saturday, and as usual I worked my extremely part-time job for the Australian Electoral Commission, manning a polling booth along with a couple of other people.

I got paid around $300 for my efforts, which is great, but the overall experience was perhaps not as agreeable as in previous years. We were understaffed, with only three people doing the work of four or five, and as we served around 800 voters over ten hours there was no chance for anyone to have a proper break. The best any of us could hope for was to slip out back for two or three minutes at a time to make coffee or take a leak, and hope that the other two didn't get swamped in our absence. Including the time spent working after the polls had closed, counting the precious Icons of Democracy (otherwise known as ballot papers) and indulging in the traditional Mocking of the Idiot Voters Who Can't Understand Simple Instructions on How To Cast A Formal Ballot, I worked fifteen hours without a break.

Ordinarily I struggle to work fifteen minutes without a pause for coffee and doughnuts. I am a martyr to the demands of representative democracy.


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