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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Coronavirus source of democracy sausage snag

If you’re on the hunt for a socially distanced democracy sausage sizzle on Eden-Monaro by-election voting day, 4 July, your plans may have hit a snag.

While current NSW COVID-19 restrictions technically allow for community groups to run the famous fundraising stalls – it appears there is little appetite to run the risk.

Democracy sausages are recognised as part of Australian culture.

Author of ‘From secret ballot to democracy sausage: How Australia got compulsory voting’, Judith Brett claims the humble sausage stall has been linked to election day since at least the 1930s.

By 2016, the sausage emoji had become the official Twitter emoji of the Australian federal election and later that year, ‘democracy sausage’ went on to become the Australian National Dictionary Centre’s Australian word of the year.

Democracysausage.org is a group of six democracy enthusiasts who volunteer on election day and run a website using crowdsourced (or as they say crowd-sauced) data from across social media to map the exact locations of sausage sizzles and cake stalls on election day – just to make the day a little bit more fun.

But due to the lack of participation from stall operators, they will not be covering the Eden-Monaro by-election next week.

Democracysausage.org volunteer Keith said they had no reports to date of community groups wishing to run a stall.

“We expect the organisers aren’t likely to run the risk given the public health implications of the current environment,” he said.

Meaning Queanbeyan residents intent on hunting down a sausage will have to go it alone.

So far Queanbeyan Indoor Sports, Queanbeyan Public School and the Queanbeyan Presbyterian Church have all ruled out hosting a sausage sizzle.

Queanbeyan Presbyterian Church moderator Peter Gobbo said they were encouraged by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) not to run a food fundraiser and although the AEC had no official capacity to make the decision, the church agreed in principle.

“Running a stand and complying with the regulations would just be too difficult,” he said.

One last hope might be for the Queanbeyan East Public School, which is yet to decide.

Queanbeyan East Public School admin officer, Fran Fisher, said the Parents and Citizens committee were still keen to hold a fundraiser, but it was still under debate while the school was seeking clarification.

It remains to be seen if Canberrans will closely follow the decisions of the border state in anticipation for the upcoming ACT elections, or will democracy sausages make a comeback before Saturday 17 October?

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