I've been too busy to blog this this last little while, my apologies!
I did take the first part of Sunday 19th to catch up on some sleep, then it was off the the candidates forum at the Nathalia footy club, an enormous thank you to the club for hosting us and to the president for hanging around to lock up. Especially after two matches earlier in the day!
Monday 20th was spent at pre-poll in Shepparton, before heading to a candidates forum held in Kyabram, hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby. Plenty of agreement with my stance on our nation's refugee policy, less so on my views surrounding Marriage Equality.
On Tuesday 21st I was at a Refugee Week event at Gotafe's Harder Auditorium. It was an honour to hear the stories of two refugees who have settled in the Shepparton area.
Then WIN News stopped by to have a chat about my fellow independent candidate Diane Teasdale's recent Facebook post about same-sex marriage which has put our electorate on the map for all the wrong reasons.
Next I attend the headspace 10th birthday event at headspace Shepparton. I got to meet some of the youth team and had a particularly good chat with a young Muslim bloke who plans to study medicine and is doing good work educating people about mental health issues.
In the afternoon I visited the Bangerang Cultural Centre which has to be the best curated small museum/gallery I've seen in quite a long time. They have a great collection of artefacts; if you haven't been there I highly recommend you do!
On the morning of Wednesday 22nd, I got to have a chat to Peter D. on Shepparton's OneFM 98.5 about politics and my candidacy. I then attended a Refugee Week morning tea at Goulburn Valley Libraries' Shepparton campus. The speaker told us of his journey from Sierra Leone to Shepparton and the inspiration he has found in both the library and education.
Next, I handed out flyers outside the Shepparton Pre-Polling Place whilst having a good chat to those distributing how-to-vote cards for The Nationals, the Australian Country Party, the Liberal Party of Australia and fellow independent Fern Summer.
This evening was spent at the Rochester Golf Club at a candidate's forum held by the Victorian Farmers Federation. T'was a good night, but I clearly need to learn more about our Irrigation district.
On Thursday 23rd I had a quick coffee (well, I had kombucha) at Fare Enough in Euroa, with friends from Melbourne who were passing through on their way to Milawa. I then stopped off at the Boosey Creek Cafe in Katamatite, before handing out flyers at the pre-polling place in Yarrawonga. Then, it was off to Numurkah for the Candidate's Forum held at the Shamrock Hotel and hosted by the Numurkah Leader.
Friday started well enough with breakfast at Alberts Cafe in Euroa with my sister and my niece. We then headed over to Nagambie to do some letterboxing which is where the comedic mishaps began...
First, we were caught in the rain, only for it to stop when we got back to the car. Then when I dropped my sister and niece off at Seymour station where they missed their train to Melbourne due to slow customer service, only to miss the next train because they didn't hear it arrive and there was no announcement.
Meanwhile, I was on my way to an event in Shepparton and started having car troubles. I pulled over to figure out what was going on and got bogged! When I couldn't get myself out and realised I was either going to get very muddy, very dirty or both I called a taxi which took a while because I was in the middle of nowhere off the Pranjip Rd. A big thank you to Euroa Taxis for getting me to the Iftar event (which was raising funds for headspace Shepparton) just in time for the event to begin! It was a really good night, great credit goes to the organisers, MC and other speakers.
On Saturday 25th I helped the Pyramid Hill Neighborhood House 'move house'. It was good to find out more about the town and it's people and chat to the President of the Neighborhood House about their plans. After the move was finished, I headed through Leitchfield and did a little letterboxing on our side of the electorate border. Next, I set a course for the Serpentine Roadhouse for one of their amazing chicken burgers.
I visited Wedderburn again on Sunday 26th to speak to the Information Centre volunteers, pleasingly for the town, they were too busy! I picked up a copy of the Neighborhood House newsletter instead.
I then went south to visit the Bridgewater Bakehouse for a late breakfast and went and had a look at the Bridgewater Solar Systems Test Facility, before heading to the far south western corner of the electorate for a late lunch and chat to the owners of the Logan pub. I then headed home via Rochester, Victoria, Colbinabbin, Rushworth, Victoria and Murchison, Victoria, Australia stopping in each town to do a little letter-boxing.
On the 27th and 28th I've planned to get a haircut and hand out flyers at the Pre-Polling Place in Shepparton, but have been overrun with media, social media and email enquiries! Last night (27th of June) I attended a Candidate's Forum at the Dookie United Football & Netball Club held by the Dookie Development Group, it was good to have an informal discussion with locals about what they want and need in their community.
Today (28th) brought more bad news with yet another cut to the milk price. I've spoken to a lot of farmers during this election campaign, a few have suggested there is a conspiracy between policy makers and large companies to put family farmers out of business, so that multinational companies can buy the land dirt cheap, make lots of money and a) make political donations, then b) hire retired politicians for cushy jobs after they retire from office.
I must stress, this is not a theory I ascribe to, but when our water policies drive production costs up, whilst our processors and retailers push farm gate prices down and governments say "yes, some people will exit the industry" when what they really mean is "yes, a whole bunch of families are going to be destitute and we will do little to help them", you've gotta start questioning whether the theorists are right...