On your bike Tony

27 July 2010

Written by: Lawrie Zion

The build up to the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is even more prolonged than this year’s election campaign. But has anyone else noticed that there are no feature races slated for August 21 in Victoria? Could it be that we’re about to witness an Election Day carnival climax?

The odds are it might just work. Voting and betting on course would be a great way for working families to combine leisure (voting) and national duty (compulsory gambling).

With a bit of imagination punters could be constantly reminded of the choice awaiting them in the contest that will be determined later that evening.

And pollies, who often look awkward and silly lurking around polling booths (cue 200 shots of candidates placing their vote going into ballot box), frankly deserve being reminded that there’s more ways to gamble than by betting on the outcome of the federal contest.

If the card looks good on paper, I reckon you’d get all the leaders on track for the entire afternoon. Perhaps Gillard, still a maiden when it comes to facing the people as a leader in the ultimate contest, could be coaxed to jump on Makybe Diva for a track gallop poll.

It’s certainly hard to see Gillard knocking back an opportunity to hand over the trophy for the Moving Forward stakes, if not the Rudd Hurdle. Tony Abbott, meanwhile could complete the electoral cycle by seeing if his pushbike is sturdy enough to fend off the likes of Efficient in the “Work choices is Dead” staying contest.

Barnaby should not be deterred from some giddy up either. In politics, the divide between urban and rural contenders can make for a cruel contest, but big city racing, unlike politics, goes out of its way to make room for aspiring competitors who have no metropolitan wins to their name.

I’m not sure that Bob Brown has ever been to a racetrack, but The Greens, who could well end up being the beneficiary of that psephological equivalent of the each way bet, might well be tempted to endorse the racetrack as a model for a more sustainable transport blueprint for all Australians.

Just imagine if the nation’s toll roads became one giant swathe of green turf where horses replaced those ozone depleting gas guzzlers. My bet is there’d be a lot riding on it.

Lawrie Zion is editor-in-chief of upstart. This piece got its first run on the Election Predict 2010 site.