I’m a political animal.
I studied politics in university when I started in 1995, and there met Gail (my Pol Sci tutor) and Steve (a classmate) – the first Labor party members I’d ever met.
I volunteered for the ACT Greens prior to the 1996 election. At the same time, I was increasingly being drawn into work for the union where I worked at the time (the Tax Office).
When Keating lost that election, I decided it was time to get serious, and I joined the Labor Party at the Canberra North sub-branch. My first night there, I got into an interesting chat with Bob McMullan the local member.
I worked out that where I lived (newly developed Gungahlin) had different issues to older established North Canberra, so I organised a new sub-branch. In the process, I alienated some factional warriors, and befriended others (even though I was ideologically more inclined to have done it the other way around). The new sub-branch included my old classmate Steve (who was factionally with those I’d befriended) and Simon, a local MP who I’d upset by creating the new sub-branch. As it turned out, Simon benefited greatly in subsequent elections by identifying as belonging to Gungahlin – a new and growing part of town – despite only living there briefly, and almost never attending his local meeting.
Also within that new sub-branch was Jason, who worked for Bob – our local MP. Jason was central in getting me working with Beazley’s office, and through that, with meeting many Labor people within Canberra and further afield. When that job exploded in a ball of fiery scandal, I stayed in the Party, despite the efforts of some to have my expelled. I continued to do a lot of work for the Party in the ACT, working quite a bit with the secretary (Matt – Gail’s [my former tutor] husband).
When I left Canberra following the end of my marriage, I joined the Labor party in Queensland, and worked for them for a while. I found the labyrynthine factions in Queensland though to be too hard to understand so I drifted away from the Party and failed to renew my membership.
I then befriended a Greens candidate in Brisbane, joined their party and worked for them during their state election battle in 2006. That lasted until I returned to Canberra, started socialising with old friends, and returned to my old sub-branch. Once again, I slaved for the Party, ending up pink with sunburn from manning one of the largest polling booths in the Territory on the day Rudd was elected.
I quit the Party in protest at some policies in early 2010. To reinforce my allegiance though, last year saw myself and a bunch of friends sacked when Queensland voted LNP and removed Labor from power. Those sackings had a negative impacts both on me and my friends.
And, although I hope the party win this year, I am not overly invested emotionally in the outcome. I really don’t care. I think Labor need to examine themselves, and they wont do it in Government. But I am just as sure they wont do it in opposition either. Not really.
And despite all that, I am writing a series of articles for a new project on the election in the five Hunter Valley seats. Let’s see if that inspires me?