Election days always start early and finish late, especially if you’re a candidate. Visiting lots of booths and talking to campaign helpers throughout the day, followed by gathering together at night to watch the results come in and thanking people collectively for all their hard work. When it’s a bad result for people, it can be especially hard to thank them enough, as they are more likely to feel all their work has been for nothing.
However, it is important to acknowledge all the work that so many people do – mostly unpaid or seriously underpaid – in the lead up to and on election day. When you are a candidate, it is quite humbling to have so many people sacrifice their time and money for you, and for the views and values you espouse or represent – let alone have people support you with their vote. There were also a lot of people who publicly supported me at this election when they didn’t need to and had nothing personally to gain by doing so.
Today’s election produced a fairly dismal result for the Democrats and for me in Queensland which will almost certainly see the end of the party’s representation in the parliament after 30 years. So as well as thanking people for their work and support during this campaign, I feel I must give a huge thanks to the many people who put in so much effort into the Democrats over 30 years and were part of producing so much of value.
Politics being what it is and people being what they are, no doubt there will be many people at the ready to point out past mistakes the party made and where things went wrong (although personally I think that’s mostly so obvious it barely needs discussion). But I would rather note the vastly greater number of things that the party did right and the very many positive impacts it has had. It is a legislative and political legacy that will live on for a long time – albeit in ways that will probably be mostly unacknowledged – regardless of where the party’s members choose to take the party from here.
Whether those things are properly acknowledged or not, they are certainly very real, and they would not have been achieved without the selfless efforts of literally thousands of people doing it mainly because they believed in an idea and wanted to help change the world for the better.