By Gary Warner
Election fatigue has caught up with me, I knew it would eventually.
Of course, what has made this electoral campaign different is that nobody can be sure who is supporting who any more.
It used to be simple; the Liberal and National parties cuddled up together because they were both opposed to Labor, Labor felt the same way about the LNP and was happy to hold hands with the Greens, who saw the Libs as being more right-wing than Genghis Khan, with the Nats not far behind.
This time around, it seems that everyone has fallen out of bed and is not sure how to get back under the warm doona.
Here in the electorate of Durack, the Liberal and Nationals “partners” of Melissa Price for the Liberals and Shane Van Styn for the Nationals have been trading accusations in a way I can not recall in more than 30 years of reporting on elections both State and Federal.
ALP candidate Daron Keogh has been able to sit back and watch the squabbles, though his own campaign has been decidedly low-key with very few media statements.
Then there are the numbers, and ohh, what big numbers they are.
My mind is a blur of numbers, lots of numbers, with big dollar signs as the candidates wheel out pledge after pledge and promise after promise.
Melissa Price has led that race for the Liberals, most recently welcoming a commitment for a three year trial of an Exploration Development Incentive (EDI) to encourage mineral exploration.
Under a Liberal government, (and the Nationals if they’re still talking to each other at all on Sunday morning), the EDI scheme would start on 1 July 2014 and be capped at $100 million over the forward estimates.
That one was costed, but Ms Price had already rolled out vote-sweetening packages for pastoralists and live animal exporters, Australian Defence Force members and senior citizens.
No costing estimates were attached, although they would obviously involve large sums of money.
Shane Van Styn for the Nationals had his finger on the local pulse when speaking about the need for expansion of Geraldton Hospital, a call for mobile phone ‘black spots’ to be fixed and a better share for Western Australia of offshore petroleum royalties.
There were no numbers in any of those statements, but we know they are there and they would be big ones.
Not to be outdone, the Greens unveiled a rural mental health policy costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office at a cool $552.6m over three years.
With so many big ticket pledges floating on the breeze, anyone basing their vote on the dollars would need an accountant and a calculator (and quite a few hours) to reach a decision.
However, since Australia seems to be moving towards the USA’s presidential system , with many voters seeing in their mind’s eye either Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott when they vote for their local candidate, it will probably come down to which of that pair is trusted the most.
I’ll just be glad to have an end to hearing the phrase “fair dinkum” repeated ad nauseam.
Think I might check the legality of running a game of two-up outside a polling place, I reckon more than a few Australians would be happy by now to let their vote rest on the toss of a coin.