Election campaign? Tangney election wrap by @GuinevereHall


By Guinevere Hall

2 September, 2013

I recently discussed the election with my 19 year old hair dresser after I remarked that she would be voting for the first time. She only enrolled when sent a notice saying she was going to be fined. Her colleague called out, “It’s only  $20”, to which she swore and wished she hadn’t bothered.

So how would she vote?

“What’s the choice? I’ll just ask my parents who they vote for and just do that.”

I explained that our current representative for Tangney was Dennis Jensen, who didn’t think climate change was real and refused to participate in the apology to the Stolen Generation. She hadn’t heard about the Stolen Generation.

The future of Tangney looks like the past.

With less than a week to go until the federal election the voters in the electorate of Tangney remain blissfully unaware that something may be happening next weekend.

Unless you are a political junkie like me there is no message being peddled in this electorate. I have received no flyers from any party. I have not been door-knocked or hassled by phone. To the average punter on the street the election is happening elsewhere.

The sitting Liberal MP in this safe Perth seat has a few corflutes on strategic street corners, but he has been strangely quiet and Iess controversial on Twitter than usual – he is not engaging in debate with detractors.

On his Facebook page he has had a couple of questions directed to him, one with regard to compensation to home schooled children, but there has been no visible interaction with the questioners .

He has held some ‘listening posts’. He claimed to have had ‘huge turnouts’ at Wireless Hill and Riverton meetings, and released pictures of half a dozen people at each.  He has also held ‘Tangney trekwalks’through the electorate.

According to his Twitter posts he has waited outside the Ardross, Attadale and Melville primary schools – all very blue ribbon suburbs within the electorate – to chat with parents.

I attended his campaign launch at the South Perth Yacht Club, a sombre breakfast attended by business suits and Liberal members. Having never been to any political launch before I expected a bit of razzmatazz and some inspiring speeches but I was disappointed. A pamphlet on the table invited me to join the Tangney 50 Club where I would get a monthly phone calls from Dennis and some commemorative cuff links. I had use for neither.

The only other active campaigner in Tangney is the Palmer United Party candidate Wayne Driver, and only active for me as I follow him on Facebook. I am not sure if he is promoting himself elsewhere but I haven’t noticed and certainly voters I have spoken to have never heard of him. His Facebook posts have mainly consisted of negative Green and Labor memes.

However he has been very active on Facebook, posting regularly and not scared to engage with people commenting on his posts. His HTV card puts Jensen second, Labor last and The Greens second last, a big hint on where his politics lies and contrary to his previous claim to that he would encourage voters to preference who they liked.

And that’s it for campaigning in Tangney, folks. 

Margo: I’ve loved your coverage of Tangney, Guinevere, and laughed out loud at times – you have a deft touch in droll. From what I hear you’ve also brought a touch of democratic engagement to quite a few voters in the ultra-safe seat where you live.  Thank you and thanks to the candidates, all of whom agreed to speak to our citizen journalist.


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  1. Thanks for your coverage Guinevere. It pleases me to have a light shone into our electorate – even if it reflects the dismal faces of disinterest, disengagement and denial.

    Despite this I know there are people here who are engaged, who want better care of the environment, want action on climate change, do take an interest in social issues, and would love to have a more engaged local candidate…but certainly they are not in the majority.

  2. I have been captivated by your coverage of your electorate of Tangney, Guinevere, even though it is not my electorate. It is staggering to get a sense that there is little electioneering or any sense of a contest. It has made me investigate who our local candidates are in Stirling, another safe Liberal seat, but apart from one photo on a bus stop of the local sitting member which has been there for months there has been no sign or activity of electioneering.

    I feel isolated and removed from the political process although my husband and I will give out how to vote forms for Labor on polling day. This is not going to be very pleasant if our experience at the state elections is any guide.

    Good on you Guinevere for reporting an unbiased, straight forward, revealing investigation of political life in a Perth suburb.

    We get what we vote for.

  3. We have the same take them for granted attitude in Swan the incumbent Lib hasn’t answered any of the 2 emails I sent although he seems to have plenty of money to stuff our home and PO mailbox with generic rubbish and an invitation to assist with a postal vote (???) he can’t buy mine

  4. Great article Guinevere. I agree with Margo’s comment – you have a keen sense of “droll” and write fabulously well.

  5. The Coal-ition don’t want the election to be about candidates. That’s why they are hiding (Dennis Jensen, Don Randall) or are simply faces without policies (James Diaz). The LNP want the election to be a presidential contest between two men only. Sadly, the majority of Australia also seem to see it this way, and don’t realise the irony that the great majority of the population won’t actually be voting for either of them, and no one will be voting for who will be Prime Minister (a position that isn’t even in the Constitution) but only their local members. Personality, not policy is the ploy.

  6. Hi Guinevere, in regards to the How To Vote Card, my preferences were submitted but changed at Party HQ after the Greens renegged on their support for the Palmer United Party nationaly.

    I still do firmly believe people should use the HTV cards as a reference. I encourage electors to think about their vote and how they want their preferences counted, it is their vote and it is important.

    Your right, I haven’t been able to get out and door knock due mainly to my work (Having me at short notice in NZ and Interstate working on water projects) and sporting comittments in the Tangney Electorate.

    It would also be nice if the 25 coreflutes put out last week didn’t mysteriously disappear and be replaced by other candidates, two of whom are not even running in the Tangney electorate.

    Keep up the good work, you are the true citizen journalist without bias.

  7. Felciity Carroll says

    Hi Guinevere,
    I have been following your articles for the last couple of weeks and I wanted to thank you for giving me some clearer insight into the Tangney candidates and election campaign. Learning to become more aware of my context and seeking information rather than just accepting the information given to me has really opened my eyes during this election period, especially being in a very ‘safe’ Liberal seat.
    Like my parents I was very much voting for who reached out to me, rather than finding out the information myself and trying to make a decision before the election day, especially since before this election I didn’t know our current member is a climate change sceptic which has completely changed my vote, since I am majoring in Geography and Environmental Science.
    So many people seem to accept that voting is a necessity and a chore, so how to vote cards and letter drops are some of the only information people receive. I am not angry at any of the other candidates just frustrated that a lot of people dismiss the chance to make a decision because of a ‘safe’ seat and I wonder if there would be a difference in opinion if more information was readily available? Who knows.
    So a big thank you, for opening my eyes and helping me to find my own position and place in this election!

    • Wow Felicity! Your words have made it all worthwhile as that was exactly my intension. I wanted to show who they were without showing any bias to allow voters to make up their own minds. Thank you so much for commenting as I am never sure how many Tangney voters actually know ths is here and read it

  8. I didn’t know 1st voters still asked their parents for advice on how they should vote….and voted as the old fools voted. Like in the olden days. My daughter recently asked me who I would be voting for ! I would have lied if I had thought there was any chance of her listening to me.