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What goes around comes around

I'm sure most, if not all, of you don’t remember the campaign Jean Ely and I conducted in Melbourne in 2012 when I stood as Lord Mayor of Melbourne and Jean as Deputy Lord Mayor. We came last of the 6 or 7 candidates and collected a massive 1.5% of the vote. Considering we spent $625 on the campaign and the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle spent over $300,000 on his campaign, the amount of votes we received isn’t as pathetic as it first seems.

We launched our campaign outside the Melbourne Town Hall (where else would you launch a Melbourne Lord mayoral campaign?) The launch was shunned by the corporate owned media, the government gelded ABC, the alternative media and the public – not that we expected our little media conference would set the world on fire, although I (not Jean) expected to singe a leaf or two.

As we outlined our policies I made the mistake of asking the punters that had gathered around us what they wanted. A young bloke who looked as if he’d seen better days piped up he needed $10 to buy some food. The little crowd fell silent, waiting to see my response. Realising this was a pivotal moment in our campaign as the people surrounding us were waiting to see if we walked the walk as well as talked the talk, I opened my wallet and fished out a forlorn $10 note that had been earmarked for my lunch. There was no way I was going to get that tenner back from the developers as they had dug deep to fund Lord Mayor Robert Doyle’s campaign. I was getting used to the idea that I wouldn’t be having a coffee, let alone a sanger, after the campaign launch and handed the $10 note over to our friend. The little crowd surrounding us seemed to approve my act of generosity. Not that it helped our electoral prospects as nobody in the crowd lived in the city of Melbourne and was on the Melbourne City Council electoral roll.

Melbourne City Council elections continue to confound even the most cynical voter. In the City of Melbourne the more apartments, units, businesses and buildings you own, the more votes you're entitled to cast. The electoral system for the Melbourne City Council is structured in such a way (rigged if I was an uncharitable person) that the business sector will always win the race, but that’s another story for another day.

I didn’t give the matter of the $10 much thought, actually I’d forgotten all about it, when 18 months later walking down Swanston St this fit looking, well dressed young bloke comes up to me and hands me a $10 note. “Mate”, he said, “I needed that money, it changed the direction of my life.” We shook hands and parted. I’ve never seen him again and I never expect to see him again. I couldn’t help think what goes around, comes around. I’m now waiting for all those people I’ve annoyed in the past to put the boot in.

Dr. Joseph Toscano