On Thursday I spent most of the day outside Foodworks in Numurkah, chatting to those passing, handing out flyers and collecting signatures. I took a break for about an hour and a half to attend the Biggest Morning Tea event at the RSL, which was quite enjoyable. Attendees raised almost $2500 for cancer research through donations, raffles, auctions and a $5 door price - a superb effort!
I spent Friday in Rochester, according to several business owners the major issue for the town - besides the immediate dairy crisis - is that Campaspe Shire Council constantly stifles investment and doesn't spend money outside Echuca. I was told of separate plans for RV parking near the main street, at least two residential subdivisions and a large factory that was to build truck trailers - all abandoned due to council regulation and a lack of assistance to navigate it.
Whilst in Rochester, I met Donna who has no internet access but wants to know who all the candidates are, so I've agreed to send her the information contained in each of the candidate websites once the AEC announces the final list of nominees on the 10th of June.
I also met Kevin who has had a very interesting life and was kind enough to buy me two chocolate bars, which brings my campaign donations to $26.90 and two Mars Bars - all unsolicited.
Today I attended my first candidate forum, held in Maude St Mall in Shepparton by the Beneath the Wisteria group. I was incredibly nervous, given that the last time I addressed a crowd was in year 9 English and the last time I used a microphone was during a Christmas Carols event in grade prep - but I survived!
It was really good to meet some of the other candidates - I had a chat with Duncan McGauchie (Liberal), Ian Christoe (Greens) and Fern Summer (Independent). I also had a brief chat to Damian Drum (Nationals) before the event began.
We were each given 5 minutes to speak and 5 minutes for questions. The speaking 'roster' was alphabetical, so I was first. My time at the microphone is a bit of a blur, but my sister - who is unafraid of being frank - says I did quite well.
After the speeches were over, several people came to sign my nomination form including a gentleman who told me that everything I had said was the antithesis of what he believed, that he was a Liberal supporter, but he'd sign my form on the proviso that I ran a clean campaign. I thought this quite odd, given (from memory) I was the only candidate not to attack another party and have no intention of running a smear campaign against anyone. Fern, Nigel Hicks (Independent) and I swapped signatures and Duncan McGauchie also signed, which was nice.
Once the crowd had well and truly cleared, my sister and I went back to the car for a debrief and then to Murchison to speak to the bloke at Lindsay's Jewels and Gifts (we spoke to him on my first day of campaigning) he wasn't in, but his daughter was happy to sign my nomination form instead (I also bought a new wallet.)
Next, we headed to Riverside Plaza in Kialla to hand out flyers and ask for signatures. Whilst we were there Sharman Stone walked past and said she'd love to read my literature - the local Liberals are far more charming than they're given credit for :). I'm only disappointed that my niece wasn't with us, she's very proud of her Sharman Stone calendar.
Once the sun had set, we went home and tallied up the signatures - 17 for the day, 9 of which correspond to the electoral roll for a total of 149 and 67 respectively.