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Exercising suffrage insufferable without a sausage

It was a bleak day for Democracy in Queensland on Saturday. As voters went to the polls, something important was missing. Those who truly know their onions will be aware that in Australia the sausage looms large in the electoral process.

Here in the Lucky Country we don’t have to catch buses to remote civic halls and queue for hours if we can get there at all to exercise our democratic right and duty.

Our polling stations are conveniently set up in local schools and elections held on a Saturday, a symbol of the universal nature of our suffrage. We vote with our neighbours, as part of a community, and the sausage sizzle is a powerful symbol of that.

So it was with some concern that voters at many polling booths noted a distinct lack of the usual bbq aroma which tends to accompany these things.

Not your Girl Reporter, who was able to feast on the Sausage of Democracy and carry home for later the Scones of Freedom and sweet Raspberry Friands of Unexpected Victory.

But that was in the Independent Socialist Republic of Stafford, and my thanks go to the highly organised Stafford State School Parents & Citizens Association, whose crack troops were mobilised to delicious effect.

Kate Wall tweetHowever, not every polling station was as well-stocked. The Gold Coast Bulletin reported the merest whiff of Democracy plus Onions emanating from only three locations. Ipswich voters also complained of a lack of cake, another essential dimension to our political process.

There were similar tales of woe from the gardens of Toowoomba to the Warrego Plains, on the dusty streets of Mount Isa and in the cosmopolitan playground of Brisbane’s Spring Hill.

Where were the sausages, a bewildered electorate was left to wonder. How can we vote if we don’t have any sausages? Where, oh where, is the promised pork?

What is Democracy without its handmaids the Sausage and the Lamington?

Sausage tweetBewilderment quickly turned to rage.

And, in the middle of a hot and humid Queensland summer, rage comes easily.

Campbell Newman should have been more careful. Calling a snap election in the middle of the long school summer holidays was always going to hit a snag – who, after all, was going to cook the sausages and bake the sweet treats?

The first signs of trouble came early, in his own electorate of Ashgrove.

Newmarket State School, where Newman cast his vote, did manage to lay on a good range of sweet and savoury election toppers.

But a volunteer was heard to chide him for giving them so little notice. It takes time to organise that level of baking and our schools only returned from the long summer break on Tuesday, after the Australia Day weekend.

In other words, they had a mere four days to prepare for what is traditionally one of their biggest fundraisers.

Was this the most egregious act of a controversial reign? Perhaps not. But as a final act of bastardy it’s hard to beat.

Maybe, just maybe, it was the tipping point that turned a wave of protest into a tsunami.

When the bruised and battered Liberal National Party gathers to consider just what went wrong, the role of the sausage in their downfall probably won’t rate a mention.

But know this, all ye who would seek power in Queensland: Deny us our sausage at your peril. There are things we hold dear above all others and our Election Day ritual of a vote, a snag and a catch-up with mates is not to be treated lightly.

Once I was a Girl Reporter, now I’m an interested observer covering the past, present and future of journalism and anything else that takes my fancy. Read more Baxter here. 


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  1. DanDark

    Long live the BBQ sausage…. 🙂

  2. diannaart

    I am confused – although, at my age this is virtually a permanent state of being.

    I thought a problem of significance was the excess of sausages in the LNP.

    I’ll just totter off now – time for my nap.

  3. Amanda V

    Put a sausage in a suit and blue tie and who have you got? Add a bad comb over and who else have you got?

  4. brickbob

    Went to the local Primary school to vote,no sausage sizzle,just the tuckshop selling soft drinks and chips,what the hell has happened to the humble sausage? Oh well,it was a good result for Labor so i will overlook the silence of the snags.””

  5. Amanda V

    Speaking of comb overs if you ever wondered what is happening on Donald Trumps head google…. Trump in the wind

  6. Pingback: Exercising suffrage insufferable without a sausage | Sally Baxter

  7. Stafford

    I have always like the name Stafford, thanks Mum!

  8. Kerri

    Delightful article Sally Baxter!

  9. Anomander

    There’s something quite potent in the heady mix of devouring a minced-up animal (on bread) while deciding the fate of Australia.

    That is the one thing I will sorely miss when they finally introduce on-line voting.

  10. jagman48

    Can you imagine the anguish of manning a booth at Cooloongatta, the sweet smell of the onion and sausage. The voters comming out with sausage in hand dripping with sauce and mustard. Why the anguish you ask ? I am coeliac and can’t partake of the finest thing on this earth. A sausage sizzle.

  11. edward eastwood

    @ jagman48; You have my sympathies.

    @ diannaart; Spot on. Perhaps if the Libs recruited more s.n.a.g.’s they may have had a better chance – but I doubt it.

    @ brickbob; “silence of the snags’ 🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. Sir ScotchMistery

    Folks have been heard to say that we don’t need the ABC.

    As a Queensland voter yesterday, I competed 3 loads of washing, and consumed my 500ml cup of Nerada tea, (white with half a sugar in response to my newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes), and listened carefully to 612Brisbane, my local radio station, as Tim Cox received call after call describing the joys of Australian “democracy” in action.

    Whites Hill College were bragging about their field mushroom burgers. Others were extolling the virtues of their cakes and other baked goods. But no news from my local school which normally had cakes and a really good coffee cart.

    Finally, I’d had enough. I put on my “I’ll take my barrier reef without coal Thankyou” t-shirt ($28 including postage, in 4 days, from Vistaprint) and stalked off to vote..

    I parked somewhat challengingly right on the corner across from the heavily plasticised fences telling me that “Ian Kay brought me the flashing speed sign”, and prepared to run the gauntlet of smiling (obviously unknowing) LNP hander outers suggesting I needed their paper to work out what to do with my 4 choices.

    I made my way to the barbecue. I smiled and exchanged light banter with the mother managing the money.

    “One, with, thankyou” I elected onion just in case. “and can I please have it diagonal?” having just noted an LNP hander outer leaving with much reduced onion.

    “One with, please. Diagonal as well”she noted to the gent with the tongs.

    “Coming up” he responded.

    I added some mustard, realising too late that it was American. I sniffed. The onion had been caramelised. I looked across at the tong-bearer with new respect.

    I looked ask about for some shade. None close. 2 elderly (older than me) ALP hander outers shared 3 feet of brick wall to which I gravitated. We exchanged elderly type pleasantries as I consumed the barbecued beautifulness.

    A minute later I was on my way to the polling place, desperately seeking the final 6 metres and the leaving behind of the blue clad and smiling LNP hander outers.

    I fronted up to the “ordinary votes” person, smiled knowingly and watched as he read my t-shirt, gave him my drivers licence, accepted the scrawny little bit of paper that represented my right to choose.

    There it was again. Choice. I thought as I walked the few feet to the disastrously enviro unfriendly booth, and carefully read the list of choices.

    ALP – that was Joe.
    Greens – forget his name. Matthew something I think.
    LNP – the sign giver, Ian Kay
    PUP – no clue.

    Greens got the first. I like to encourage them but recognise to no real effect. This is Queensland. The environment isn’t that important to most of us.

    ALP got second, since that’s the nature of this seat.

    PUP got third. Choice is a wondrous thing.

    The sign giver got last.

    Hard choice? Not really. Good choice? Better than it could have been.

    Mr Abbott gave us choice as well. Work choice. And Strong choices, from Mr Newman.

    I neatly folded my choice and popped it into the zip tied ballot box. And then chose to smile. And walked outside.

    Momentarily my diabetes popped into my mind. Then I chose to head back to the barbecue.

    Naturally my shirt was instantly recognised. “Back again?”
    “Of course” I agreed.
    “Same again? Diagonal?”
    I was pleased by the attention to detail.

    Then I chose barbecue sauce. None of that American crap for me.

  13. corvus boreus

    Well told, Sir Scotch. Smiling still.

  14. totaram

    Sir Scotch re: diabetes. you could look at in case you haven’t already.

  15. Sally Baxter

    Thank you Sir Scotch – I enjoyed your story. Had even wiped away a little tear by the end. S

  16. John Kelly

    I always head for the cake stall. Home made apple slices, banana cake and chocolate crackles.

  17. eli nes

    i remember the greens voting with coalition to sink the carbon price. I remember the disingenuous milne on the abc decrying KAP success which was up to 10 times any green vote?? So sir scotch your $1 could have been better placed.
    ps I thought clarke and dawe hit the jackpot when hockey rang the PM to inform him of the death of one of the coalition knights. Apparently Sir Plus is dead and buried.

  18. edward eastwood

    @ John Kelly: You keep that up John and you’re going to need a larger avatar 🙂 🙂 – still those chocolate crackles sound good… mmmmm.. chocolate crackles…

  19. corvus boreus

    eli nes,
    .llew os taht rebmemer uoy dalg ma I

  20. John O

    Sir Scotch, a beautifully woven tail of hope, disappointment and joy. Whilst the article was good, you Sir, were great……. Kudos…. (and good luck with the diabetes)

  21. Sir ScotchMistery

    Seriously you guys it was just a comment. I wouldn’t have even thought it was important enough to do anything about it, except for the reminder by Sally Baxter.

    We all have a little bit to do. I find it particularly interesting that we have become such mates over the last couple of years to be talking to one another as if we have been acquainted in the flesh for donkey’s ages.

    Next task, Abbott.

    Bring it on, bitch.

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