October 27, 2012
It's not often an Australian innovation conquers the world, especially in politics, but we do seem to have had a first. Many in America are giving the laurel to Vladimir Putin, but unless there is a more ancient contender the true innovator was our own Sarah Hanson-Young. And that innovation is to have been the first to come up with the idea that a young woman's first vote is equivalent to her first experience of making love.
A pathetic disgusting idea, it is true, but SH-Y may have provided an Australian first. So let's begin here with an ad put out by the Greens in the 2010 Australian election.
Revolting and repulsive it may be but let us be fair. It was also fresh and new, and so far as we know had never been tried before. It was also written by a pair of blokes who are named at the end, Mike Clay and Tyler Freeman-Smith. You have to wonder about the "gender" of the writers of the scripts for the other presentations now found below, or perhaps you don't.But never mind. Let's move forward to the next in the sequence, an ad that was run this year and posted on Youtube in February, 2012. It is an ad for Vladimir Putin and was run as part of the Russian election campaign. I cannot vouch for the Russian but the idea is unmistakably the same.
I like the touch with the fortune teller. Who else would you go to for election advice?
And the tarot card with Putin's picture is a touch of genius. It is good to see such deep thought and consideration going into so momentous a decision.
But now we have a version of this already twice-warmed election idea being released by Obama in the United States. The same conception as in the ads by SH-Y and Putin, but now designed for an American audience. The star is a young actress who would apparently be recognisable amongst her own demographic cohort. She is 26, so this will be the third election cycle since the first time she cast a ballot, assuming she voted in 2004 and 2008. But I guess the first time for something so important is hard to forget, although the kinds of thoughts she brings to the argument wouldn't have had much relevance back when John Kerry was running for president. But let's not worry about logic. This is about something far more transcendent.
So there you are. From Sarah Hanson-Young to Vladimir Putin to Barack Obama. That is, from the Australian Greens to the former head of the KGB to the Democrat president of the United States. An Australian innovation has spawned an industry guiding young girls to cast their votes correctly. I would think these ads make fun of young girls and try to make them look like a bunch of simpletons, but what do I know? It's an idea Made in Australia. Makes you proud to be an Australian.
Steve Kates teaches economics at RMIT University. His most recent book is Free Market Economics: an Introduction for the General Reader
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