Our good friends, John and Joan live in the Federal electorate of Indi, in Victoria’s North-east. Sometimes, when the conversation turns to politics, we chide them on their choice of their local member, Sophie Mirabella. “Not our fault,” they protest.
From time to time Ms Mirabella appears on Q&A, and her appearance elicits much anger and occasional swearing at the television screen. She comes across as rude, opinionated and arrogant, often talking over guests with whose opinions she disagrees. When the apology to the stolen generations was delivered in Parliament by PM Rudd early in 2008, she was among a handful of LNP members who chose to be absent from the chamber. Many in her electorate were outraged. On a motion that had the support of all parties, they felt that she was not properly representing them.
Her seat was safe. The people of Indi are never going to vote Labor. When we visited Joan and John in July, the subject of politics somehow arose, and Joan excitedly informed us that they had found an excellent independent candidate, Cathy McGowan; and there was a lot of grass-roots effort going into her campaign. Good on them; it is nearly impossible to get an independent elected, but they might just give the sitting member a fright.
The election was held last Saturday. I watched with interest as the figures for Indi appeared on screen late in the night, well after Tony Abbott had claimed victory for the LNP. The seat was one of those still in doubt; too close to call. In an election that had a strong overall swing to the LNP, to have an independent go close to unseating a sitting LNP member was a truly remarkable achievement, and restored just a little of my faith in democracy. Well done John and Joan; and all the other grass-roots activists of Indi!
I retired to bed. The next morning the bathroom lights refused to go on. I had replaced the two globes earlier this year; presumably one had failed some time ago, and we hadn’t noticed until the second went. A little later I climbed on a chair and removed the failed objects. I held them up to the window and noted that both filaments were indeed broken. Incandescent, but not much choice in that light fitting.
I’d better make a note of the details. 40 watt, small round, clear, Edison Screw; brand name Mirabella. I laughed out loud, and reported the cause of my mirth to Jane, who shared my amusement.
I tell this story not as proof that God exists, although she may well do so, but simply to share my pleasure that at the time very my bathroom lights went out, they may well have gone on for the people of Indi.
(As I write this, to the best of my knowledge, the seat of Indi is still in doubt. By the time I post it, (not a simple matter), or by the time you read it, it may well be decided.)