Flan Cleary

Flan Cleary

Flan Cleary is 75, a retired civil engineer born in Co Clare in Ireland who migrated to Australia with his family at 17. He does not like being photographed.
Flan Cleary

You can read A diary of emails to Ireland – Part 1 here and Part 2 here

5 May 2022

The government is getting worried it might lose seats to the lady independents. There’s six with some chance of winning, and Sophie would be fifth or sixth chance on the odds. The Treasurer and leader in waiting is under challenge and has to spend more time in his seat than on the overall campaign. Which upsets them. So, the government and the Murdoch media are hammering the lady Independents, multiple negative news stories every day in every Murdoch tabloid. One commentator on Sky said it was not fair for them to challenge as the incumbents were entitled to the safe seats without being distracted.

7 May 2022 – Dirty tricks and a glimmer of hope

Driving from Newport on Friday morning, I was thinking, ‘Great, there are a lot more Sophie signs.’ Then I noticed somebody had stuck a ‘Vote Greens’ sticker on lots of them. Someone had manufactured new Sophie signs linking her to the Greens, obviously with the intention of scaring off conservative voters. Illegal and very low. I am sure it was the Liberals, but managed at arm’s length so they can’t be blamed. They must be worried to be up to that sort of stuff.

Then an opinion poll that shows Jason in danger of losing, Mackellar malaise: could an independent GP cause an upset in the Liberals’ beachside bastion? It shows Sophie and Jason neck and neck, but I will hold off on the hope.

We are down to the business end now. Election in two weeks. From three weeks out, you can send in a postal vote.  At two weeks, three voting stations open where people vote (once) until the formal voting day. So we will have people manning these booths while they are open.  Volunteers are also needed for each polling station on voting day, scrutineers for counting, people to set up stalls.  And still banner waving, door knocking, street listening, telephoning.

Other events I did not get to included: group walks (to cafes of course), group dog walking, and today a communal paddle at Mona Vale surf beach. It will be all go until voting day.

9 May 2022 

Back to door knocking in French’s Forest on Saturday.  It’s different to last week; everyone is aware of Sophie’s candidature now.  As one guy said when we asked if he had heard of her,

“Everyone north of the Harbour Bridge has heard of her.”  

It was obvious a lot had made up their minds, so it was a quick thumbs up, or a ‘not interested’. One guy said he was not yet a citizen so couldn’t vote. I asked where he was from; “County Wicklow”, but family from Ballyvaughan in County Clare. We had a good chat and I’m confident his wife will vote for Sophie. Two doors up, a guy who knew all about climate issues. From Limerick, when asked, loved Lahinch in County Clare. Another good chat.  Another three accents and each time I asked where from, “Ireland”. We were winning the Irish vote.

At the end I avoided the 2013 merlot and returned to nursing duties.

10 May 2022

I returned to banner waving on Tuesday morning at the main road junction at Mona Vale. We’re told to keep the signs static and wave just our hands.  

#MackellarVotes banner waving volunteers

I stood at a set of traffic signals outside where my sister Maureen lives waving at a van coming towards me. He waved back, middle finger raised, and screamed ‘F’… You’ three times at the top of his voice as he went past at 30k/h. He was raging, his face distorted. Thank God the lights didn’t go red. God help anyone he met at the next roundabout.  

I spent most of the shift talking to another waver, a retired fireman who’d recently been to the US camping and travelling. He said Americans were no longer as friendly, and don’t ask you into their house. Within two minutes everyone told him they were a Democrat or a Republican.  “I’m not ashamed to tell you I’m a Republican….”.

11 May 2022

Went to the candidates’ forum last Tuesday evening. There are seven candidates but two did not appear, one just a dummy candidate and the incumbent Jason. I think he was avoiding it because it was organised by the environment groups.  The five there were Greens, Labor, Sophie, an alternative liberal and the United Australia (right wing) Party.  

The Greens candidate is 18 years old and was in the same class as my grandson Austin in primary school. He was the most polished speaker on the stage. He will get somewhere.  

My friend Peter tapped me on the shoulder – the UAP candidate is his wife Jenny’s first cousin, so they’d come for family support. He’s an ex born-again preacher, and not the best speaker on stage but he had the anti-vaxers in the audience on his side. I said to Peter he had gone well.  Peter just looked at me. 

Sophie was good, and the other two OK. No-one was there to have their mind changed, but it was broadcast live on Radio Northern Beaches so someone neutral might have listened.  

12 May 2022

Less than two weeks to go and it’s getting heavy. I still don’t think that Sophie will win, but Jason must be getting even more worried. We got two of his fliers today and both Deirdre and my daughter in law, Jacquie, got calls wanting to discuss what a great guy Jason is. He’s spending a lot of money all of a sudden. 

I visited the pre-poll centre yesterday – busy, more Sophie volunteers than the rest put together. 

I heard Jason Falinski complaining to a supporter, “We have had that one next door (Warringah) for three years and now this one comes up here” (I was walking very slow). Didn’t look happy. Our volunteers said he’d been there all day.  

I think negative is all they have left. You can see why we want them gone.


You can read A diary of emails to Ireland – Part 1 here and Part 2 here


No Fibs #MackellarVotes coverage