Ten ways to avoid Election 2013

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott attended the People's Forum at the Broncos Leagues Club in ...

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott attended the People's Forum at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane. Photo: Andrew Meares

I love elections. Well, I usually love elections.

But this particular election – well, I’m not about to rip out my eyeballs and stuff them into my ears so that I can’t see or hear another moment of it. That would be foolish, and besides, when I was in hospital recovering, there’d be a TV in the ward, and even if I couldn’t hear or see it anymore, I could smell the election coverage.

Since this election campaign’s been going for either three or a bazillion years, depending on your perspective, I’m going to assume you’ve figured out who you’re voting for and just want the blasted thing to be over. So I’ve come up with ten ways to tune out of Election 2013.

1) Relocate overseas


Every single day of the campaign, I’ve found myself searching online for flights to some idyllic getaway. I’m thinking about another country, ideally one of the ones Mark Zuckerberg is trying to ruin by connecting to the internet. Some remote beach where they don’t have news websites, but do have those cheap waterfront cafes where you lie on enormous cushions.

If you do decide to escape from Australia for the duration of the campaign, choose your destination carefully, though – billboards of Australian politicians have been known to crop up in unexpected places.

2) Get fit

What better time? It’s still cool outside, so you should be able to spend hours in the gym (avoiding the exercise bikes in front of the televisions) or pounding the pavement. If you are a jogger or cyclist, just stick to routes where it’s unlikely you’ll encounter Tony Abbott.

3) Become nocturnal

Even KRudd has to sleep sometimes, so if you venture outside between the hours of 10pm and 6am, you should be able to avoid the election. The only caveat is to stay well away from Martin Place in Sydney, because they film Sunrise there and Brekkie Central is always chock-full of pollies pretending to be normal human beings.

4) Spend 10,000 hours doing anything

You know that theory that to become excellent at any task takes 10,000 hours? Well, I’ve worked out that there are exactly 369 hours between 9am this morning and when polls close at 6pm on Saturday 6 September. That’ll get you off to a flying start, and you’ll only have 9631 hours to go before becoming excellent at the thing of your choice!

I plan to spend that time learning how to play the drums, and my theory is that it’ll be all that much more enjoyable if I invest in a drumkit with Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd’s faces on it.

5) Slow down iconic songs

Whether by accident or visionary genius, somebody put the 45 of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ on 33 and discovered that it sounded amazing – like a guy whose heart has been smashed into smithereens. (Explainer for kids – “45” and “33” are terms which involve these things called ‘records’ which have nothing to do with the Olympics and – oh, look, they just slowed the song down by 25% the way you can with certain digital audio players.)

Which reminded me that Dolly Parton once gave a big smooch to our Deputy PM – no, I must not be distracted by anything to do with politics. Perhaps if I slow down ‘Jolene’ to Barry White speed, it’ll take my mind off Albo and lipgloss.

So, why not slow down a bunch of other songs yourself, and try to create the next global internet meme? You could learn to DJ at the same time (see “Become nocturnal”).

6) Have yourself a Wet August

I would never advocate the excessive consumption of alcohol, because that would be socially irresponsible – but let’s just say that if you chose to spend this entire month pursuing the opposite of Dry July, a lot of people would sympathise.

7) Write that novel you always wanted to write

If you’re like me, you spent years moaning about how you thought you had a novel in you, generally in an attempt to impress attractive people with how creative and soulful you were. (Hint – it doesn’t usually work.) Well, National Novel Writing Month usually takes place in November, but my advice is that this year, you should bring it forward. Cloister yourself away from everything and everyone, and make it happen. Just make sure your novel isn’t itself about an election.

8) Watch a great TV series on DVD

You need the kind of show where you’ll just watch episode after episode, only pausing to sleep. Under normal circumstances, I’d recommend The West Wing, but you’ll struggle to stop yourself reflecting on how much better political speeches are when crafted by Aaron Sorkin. Perhaps a more appropriate choice would be The Walking Dead, although again, the legions of undead shuffling ominously around the countryside might remind you of the leaders and their accompanying press pack.


Ultimately I recommend Seinfeld, because unlike this campaign, it’s deliberately about nothing.

9) Refuse to leave your room

In Japan, some people simply withdraw from society, a phenomenon known as ‘hikikomori’. They generally rely on kindly parents to feed and shelter them, so why not tell your folks you’ll be moving home for a bit, and bring along a lock for your bedroom door? To be a proper hikikomori, you need to leave society for at least 6 months, but until 8 September is all you should need here.

The biggest challenge will be keeping your job, but claiming that the election has made you nauseous is highly likely to be plausible.

10) Volunteer for charity

If you spend the next few weeks helping the homeless, working in a soup kitchen or anything along those lines, you can almost guarantee your experience will be entirely disconnected from the process of our would-be leaders gallivanting around, promising to make everyone’s lives better. Even if the local MP turns up for a brief photo-op that uses the people they’re supposed to be helping as a prop, you can bet they won’t stay for more than 20 minutes.

Dom guarantees that his just-released novel, Man vs Child, has nothing to do with elections. Unlike his last one.


  • Awesome, Dom! I'm with you all the way.
    Mind you, it is hard to keep up with great articles like yours, when they are buried amongst the election dross articles all over the SMH site.

    Phil J.
    Date and time
    August 23, 2013, 9:31AM
    • I can highly recommend Boardwalk Empire series 3 to avoid getting caught in Election 2013 - noting the similarities between fact and fiction (Canberra being the fiction).

      Ned Stark
      Date and time
      August 23, 2013, 11:11AM
      • I was thinking about putting in a postal vote and going for a 2-week hike through Central Tasmania. Penguin to Cradle to Lake St Clair? Or Lake Nameless to Walls of Jerusalem to the Labyrinth and out via Arm River Track? So many choices. So pleasant. No phone reception.

        Date and time
        August 23, 2013, 11:26AM
        • Despite there protestations of the opposite, yes, the intention is to remove peoples interest in Government.They will love your contribution.

          Date and time
          August 23, 2013, 11:45AM
          • I time shift all TV (apart from footy games), and fast forward all ads, so I'm pretty happy with the amount of exposure I've had to election propaganda (ie, very little!)

            Date and time
            August 23, 2013, 12:15PM
            • 1. Find (or take control of) the remote.
              2. Find and press MUTE whenever a politician or sports person starts to speak.
              3. Start up a conversation or other distracting activity with a Real Person.
              4. Revel in your naughtiness at Not Paying Attention.

              Date and time
              August 23, 2013, 12:27PM
              • Vote 1 Dom Knight? Most sensible thing I've read this election :)

                Date and time
                August 23, 2013, 12:50PM
                • Pre poll . Just go to the pre-polling station nearest you to vote a week before. I really don't get why people don't start voting a week before? why wreck your saturday when you can go to a pre-poll station a week before and vote?

                  Date and time
                  August 23, 2013, 1:53PM
                  • Anything but watching tv or listening to the radio. Since we've ditched Foxtel and don't watch free-to-air, our days have been pleasently NOT bombarded with electorial news and adverts. Grab a good book and a bottle of wine, turn the lights down low and get lost in another world.

                    D C
                    Date and time
                    August 23, 2013, 2:19PM
                    • The first and last time the following options have been grouped together: volunteer for charity, get fit, write a novel, become a drunk, become a recluse or just watch TV for a whole month. Wow!

                      Date and time
                      August 23, 2013, 2:24PM
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