The last time I spoke to my friend Kevin, all he wanted to talk about was the Australian election last week, which was surprising because normally the only news stories that interest him involve things like great white sharks attacking fishing boats.

Kevin told me the election was all over the news because the polls got it all wrong. It was a miracle and an incredible shock like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Kevin didn’t have a clue it was happening until it was all over, but now wouldn’t rest until he had the inside scoop.

“What the hell is happening down there?” He asked.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “All anybody cares about is getting a good Democracy Sausage.”


Voting is compulsory in Australia, I explained. The penalty for not voting is modest – $55 where I live in NSW – but the vast majority of Australians turn up to vote anyway. Voter turnout percentage hovers around the mid-nineties as a result. With that many people forced to go to the polls, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out a polling place is a great spot to set up a fundraiser. And is there a better way to raise some cash than slapping a sausage on a piece of white bread, smothering it in ketchup and selling it for a 500% markup?

“Okay, people show up for the sausage,” Kevin protested, “but that doesn’t explain how they voted. Why did the Liberals win?”

“Nobody really knows the answer, although plenty of people will say they do. What I think is people need a good reason to change. Australia is doing very well right now. Housing prices have declined a little, but the economy hasn’t had a recession in twenty-eight years and is still going strong. Last Saturday was a beautiful day, everyone was smiling and happy, and the sausage was awesome.  There’s no reason to stir up that pot.”

“Fine, but what about the polls? Did everyone just lie to the pollsters?”

“What are you using to talk to me right now, Kevin?”

“A phone. What do you think I’m using?”

“Is it a cellular phone or a landline?”

“Are you serious? Who has a landline anymore?”

“Guess what type of phone line pollsters in Australia use to conduct their surveys?”


For what it’s worth, polling companies around the country are scrambling to figure out how they got the result so wrong. One reason might be outdated polling methods. Some experts are convinced the future of polling lies in the data found on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Another factor may have been the size of the undecided vote in this election. Henry Olson thinks it was quite large and is a number not captured by the pollsters in their results.

“So, what does it all mean?” Kevin still sounded confused. “Everyone up here makes it sound like something big is going on down there.”

“It means no change. Tomorrow is going to be a lot like yesterday, pretty damn good.”

“I feel like I need a sausage after all that.”

“See what I mean?”

Next Up: What’s it Like to Drive on the Other Side of the Road?


Part 1: I Would Like to Acknowledge…

Part 2: Educating Kevin About Australia

Part 3: Which Way Do Australian Toilets Flush?

Part 4: What is Macca’s and Why Does Everyone Go There?

Part 5: Where Is Australia on the Map?


Photo by vauvau