The Big Question

There’s only one more full day left before polling day, so I’ve decided it’s time to answer the really big question on the minds of voters.  I’ve been to over a hundred forums, functions, events, meetings and activities over the last six weeks, and there have been three questions I’ve been asked far more frequently than any other.

The first is: How’s my campaign going?  The second is: Who do I think is going to win?

The third is: How did I manage to lose so much weight, and how much have I actually lost? 

I’ve usually answered the first part of this question while dodging the second part, but in an effort to ensure all relevant facts are out in the open before the electorate casts their votes, I will give a full and frank answer to what is clearly an issue of great public interest.

It’s not actually a very complicated answer – which is a bit unfortunate I guess, as it means I can’t write a best-selling diet book. The short answer is that I basically stopped eating garbage and stopped drinking Diet Coke.

Back in January, as part of psychologically preparing myself for the long election year ahead, I decided to get more disciplined about what I ate. Although I’d been a vegetarian for over 20 years, it wasn’t for health reasons and I actually ate pretty badly – lots of fried chips and especially packets of potato chips which I’ve long had a big weakness for (as this old blog post attests). I also drank heaps of Diet Coke, figuring that while it was undoubtedly bad for me, the zero calories meant at least it wasn’t making me put on weight.  As it turns out, while it may have zero calories, it definitely did something or other to my metabolism that made me keep or put on weight.

I was doing this as part of staying focused through the election year, rather than specifically aiming to lose weight, so I was actually a bit surprised when so much started disappearing. Going vegan about two months ago – again for environmental and ethical reasons, not for health ones – probably also helped by preventing me from grabbing the occasional cake in a coffee shop or scoffing the occasional pizza (apart from these fantastic vegan pizzas you can get at the Alibi Room in New Farm). I also walk to and from work now and then as part of trying to reduce greenhouse impacts, but I don’t think that’s regular enough to have had much to do with it.

So anyway, my answer to the big question is “I stopped eating chips and fried junk and stopped drinking Diet Coke, and I’ve lost around 20 kilograms.”

It is worth noting that of the 48 posts I’ve put up so far during the election campaign, one of the most frequently visited has been the one where people share recipes, so I guess getting a question like this shouldn’t be a total surprise.

PS: In case you’re interested, here’s my answer to the first two questions:

Answer to Question 1: Quite well, thanks. There’s been lots of positive feedback, some good donations and the polls give me a credible chance – although getting media coverage about issues of substance has been extremely difficult.

Answer to Question 2: I think the government is in trouble, but it’s hard to be certain they’ll lose, as Labor has to win 16 seats, not just get the most votes, and incumbents have enormous resources at their disposal these days which makes them harder to defeat. However, if I had to make a call, I’d say Labor will probably win fairly clearly.

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  1. Andrew, for ten years you have done the hard slog, and picked up issues – sexy or not – and worked hard on them – unlike some of the Johhny-come-lately parties….Good to see that you got some decent support on Tim Dunlop recently when he wrote about the Senate.

    The fitter, trimmer, AB, definitely needs to stay in the Senate.

    Best of luck, from an expat, who has already had the privilege of voting 1 Democrat!

  2. OMG Andrew – stay away from that last recipe I posted! I wouldn’t want to feel responsible for the unmaking of that svelte new you…

    Best wishes for Saturday. If general goodwill amongst the broader Australian electorate counted for anything, you’d be a shoe-in.

  3. Nice work on going vegan! The Alibi Room does an amazing vegan breakfast as well. It’s not exactly slimming, though! I can’t stay away from their potato hashbrowns.

    Best of luck on Saturday, and thanks for working so hard.

  4. 1. As just one of this small e-community you have created its hard not to feel some connectedness to your campaign so yes indeed Good luck. Its small and crowded world behind the latte curtain but maybe as JT pointed out your work on the indigenous market may gvie you the share you need.

    2. The Govt will fall, two reasons the Workchoices campaign has been very successful to a largley ignorant and unaffected populace and JWH, like many a fighter, sportsman, even Manchu dynast in the past stayed too long, propped up by the courtiers behibnd the throne holding on to their priveleges – and down they all will come.

    Evidence is the ALP stratgey of keeping essentially the same direction, thrwoing in some “fresh” ideas that sound good but will never eventuate – true belieevrs should cringe listengoi to KR this AM almost parroting the “we will decide who comes here” line of the past.

    If JWH had gone 18/12 ago, in a blaze of glory to his liking, then this woul dbe vastly different.

    3. Well done on the weight loss, the temerity of some advice from one who lost 20kg and has put 10 back on – get a regualr exercise regiime into your timetable. At least 30mins each day walking is good enough – at your age it is a Cardio health issue not just green stuff. Plus you learn to smell the roses again, good for the serotonin (you might need that after Saturday).

    Thanks for this blog

  5. Andrew,
    Good luck mate. I’m still somewhat undecided about my vote. I was a Democrat voter but the whole GST thing turned me off. Switched to the Greens.

    Now I’m wavering between you and the Larissa.

    I suppose one good thing to happen last election is that a lot of people now understand the perils of having one party control both houses.

  6. I am a first timer on your blogg the day before election day! Just a means to let you know the number one will go next to the democrats again in our household these elections. Go well and keep the serotonin levels up (i really don’t know what it is but sounds like it is good for you).

  7. Andrew,

    Firstly as a Democrat living in NSW I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for what you and all our other senators have done for the past 11 years. I have to say this is one of the most morally bankrupt governments that Australia has ever seen.
    I heard about the Lindsay affair yesterday. Apparently the husbands of the retiring member for Lindsay Jackie Kelly and the Liberal candidate for Lindsay Karen Chijoff were part of a group handing out bogus election material. The material proported to be from an Islamic organisation, supporting Labor. I also heard of a couple of cases where election posters from the Your Rights A Work campaign and the Liberal candidiate for Campbelltown Pat Farmer have been either stolen, defaced or distroyed. Is this happening to Democrat candidates material? Do you think the Lindsay Affair will be the nail in the coffin for this government?

  8. Senator Bartlett – you’ll be pleased to know that over on the ABC’s Club Bloggery, we’ve scored you the winner of the “e-lection”. Dunno how that converts into votes, but thanks for your brave experiment in political communication.

  9. I’d like to put the kybosh on Howard’s anti-union campaign, which has made at least some people fearful.

    At the National Press Club address, he said we now have the lowest number of industrial disputes since 1913.

    The truth is that successive governments have crushed the unions, with the Howard government completely grinding workers under its heel.

    Added to this, the population has increased markedly since 1913, which is a very real indicator of the absolute nadir (low point) union power has reached.

    If you want real jobs with good pay rates, don’t vote for Liberals, Nationals or Family First.

    Join the unions and rise up.

  10. Dear Andrew

    I’m sure I speak for all the Qld Democrats candidates when I say how much of an honour it has been to participate in this election with you.

    You have given so much of your time and energy to each of us which shows how much you value grass roots democracy.

    I agree with Don Chipp’s description of you in his book, Keep the Bastards Honest, that you are “an extremely decent man”.

    Cheers & Good Luck

  11. Just wanted to let you know that, mostly because of my admiration for your work over the years, I’ll be volunteering for the Democrats tomorrow.

    Good night and good luck!

  12. Hi Andrew,

    I’m looking forward to the election tomorrow (and I’m pleased you believe this will be the end of the Howard Government). I hope you a returned tomorrow because you have demonstrated what a thoughtful, diligent and principled Senator can do. My absolute dream result tomorrow would be a Labor victory, a Senate hung with A Bartlett in the balance of power. Imagine the change we could see in our country then.

    Good luck and well done.

  13. Never did like Coke, good for you.

    Best of luck tomorrow Andrew. Gave you a plug on RTS tonite. Fingers crossed.

    Onwards…to better days…may the rain come…but the dark clouds of oppression vanish…:)

  14. Andrew, I do have to give you credit for the input to provide posts on your blog. In my view you are standing out, regardless that I may view that your deeds do not seem to match your writings.
    My wife, who was a Liberal voter went over to the Democrats only to find Meg Lees having supported the GST and so she then turned against the Democrats. She used to be very fond on John Howard but with the Tampa incident and then Iraq she is totally against him. In fact doesn’t even like to listen to him when he is on tv.
    I gained respect for Don Chipp for his intentions “to keep the bastards honest” but the party simply is on its way out, so I view, because it does not show to follow through, and again the GST did it.
    Look at the election date which is incorrect, in view of the legislation, but nothing is done to fix it. And this is what many notice that not even the Democrats are willing to ensure that elections are held according to law.
    I BOYCOTT the election and as I already succeeded in two cases against the AEC I hardly am worried they can win against me. However, I do view that the candidates themselves should have organised the poll to be listed for the correct date.
    People are being disillusioned with the parties because they all seem to be in for their own power play and that is it.
    Many have urged me to set up my own party and to pursue we do get fair and proper elections! In a way terrible that just to try to get fair and proper elections one would need to create a party because those in the parliament do not seem to care less to provide for it, as should be in the first place.
    Still, best of luck for today and if you do make it then consider the above and perhaps you can show to care and still pursue “to keep the bastards honest”.

  15. Andrew

    “I agree with Don Chipp’s description of you in his book, Keep the Bastards Honest, that you are “an extremely decent man”.

    Good on you Vicki, so do I!

    Fingers still crossed Andrew!

    (I wish it was 6 pm (NSW time). I’ve got butterflies already!)

  16. Late catching up on your blog. I’m sorry you won’t be there now, or the Democrats, but I hope you’ll be able to rebuild and make a comeback. It’s good having the Greens, but a little extra balance doesn’t hurt.

    re: Diet Coke, it may be the caffine, which has an effect on how you metabolise fats. Stick to decaff, and good luck for the future.

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