Today, I cast a donkey vote for the first time in my life.
This is not something I do lightly. I take voting and my duty as a citizen very seriously, even though, for the most part, I live in an area where my vote doesn’t matter much as it’s a fairly safe seat. For once, this was not the case. Unfortunately, I felt I genuinely couldn’t vote for any of the candidates. While some certainly had some positive attributes, my problem with them is this: I think the single biggest issue in Sydney is housing affordability. Not affordable housing. Housing affordability. Because Sydney is now the no. 2 most expensive city to live in in the world, yet nobody’s talking about the fact housing is absurdly expensive, and getting worse. Housing affordability is as much about equality as a range of other things. There’s a tendency in Sydney for those who have already purchased property to want to pull up the ladder behind them, crying that their “way of life” is worthy of protection. Unfortunately, the candidates pandered to them. Sure, the Greens candidate talked about Affordable Housing, but housing affordability and affordable housing are not the same thing. Affordable housing is about providing accommodation for low-income people. Housing affordability is as concerned with the person making 30k as the person making 15, because both are priced out of the market at the moment. We have a supply problem, yet all the candidates demonized developers. Developers aren’t inherently bad, and they are doing something we desperately need- creating more accommodation! (Aside: yes, the Liberal party guy wasn’t as bad on developers, but he’d vote with O’Farrell, whose Civil Liberty record is an absolute travesty). And so, with no candidate on the record as making the cost of living in Sydney for ALL Sydneysiders a key part of their campaign, I donkeyed. For the first time ever. I decided to write-in Lewis Roberts-Thomson. Because he’s flexible according the the needs of the group, and he’s great under pressure. Those seem like good attributes in a politician to me. **I should add, Alex Greenwich was outside the polling booth, and introduced himself. To which I said that I know, I’ve tweeted at you about 15 times asking your position on housing affordability, and you’ve ignored them all, so you don’t have my vote. It’s all well and good for politicians to use Twitter- it’s a great resource- but if you only use it to retweet positive things other people say about you rather than actually engage with voters on policy issues, you run the risk of alienating them**