The school of polite door knocks

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
Ian Blayney out doorknocking. When nobody answers Mr Blayney writes “Sorry I missed you” on one of his calling cards, leaves it in the mailbox or under the door, and moves on.
Camera IconIan Blayney out doorknocking. When nobody answers Mr Blayney writes “Sorry I missed you” on one of his calling cards, leaves it in the mailbox or under the door, and moves on. Credit: Geoff Vivian/The Geraldton Guardian, Geoff Vivian

“I am yet to find a red-ragged Labor person to tell me to go away, or a disgruntled Liberal calling me a traitor,” Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney said while out doorknocking this week.

“In four elections I wouldn’t have had half-a-dozen people who were rude to me.

“In the city, my Liberal colleagues tell me it’s quite normal.”

Far from being a foot-in-the-door salesman, Mr Blayney said he refrained from knocking more than once, even when people were clearly home.

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We tagged along with the local member as he knocked on doors in Geraldton after lunch, and he only managed to speak to six people in the space of an hour. Whether or not he thought someone was home, Mr Blayney said he only waited long enough to write “sorry I missed you” on one of his election calling cards.

This he carefully placed under the door, being careful to leave no telltale sign there was nobody home.

“Manners maketh man — that’s what my headmaster used to say,” he said.

“They do make a difference sometimes.”

The conversation then turned to dogs, as a knock prompted a dog to let us know it was inside the house.

“You can tell there’s no one at home by the way the dog barks,” Mr Blayney said, although they did not always bark straight away from behind a gate.

He said he would not doorknock a house if he had to go through a gate as dogs could be a problem, but never their owners.

“I’m really appreciative of the fact you are sort of intruding on people’s space and yet they’re always polite and friendly and welcoming,” he said.

“I think it says something about Geraldton that people are always quite happy to be doorknocked and they are polite and friendly.

“They always have been.

“Even when I was a candidate they were all friendly and polite.”

Mr Blayney said this extended to Geraldton’s much-maligned suburbs.

“Some of the friendliest people I have met out doorknocking live in Rangeway and Spalding,” he said.

“They seem to appreciate the attention. They say ‘no-one ever comes to see us like this’.”

Mr Blayney is a member of the Rangeway Primary School board.

“It’s the only board I’m on in town,” he said.

“The principal asked me to join and I said ‘I don’t join school boards, I’m here for everyone’.

“But she said, ‘Mr Blayney, you were a former student at this school’ — so I couldn’t say no.”

Mr Blayney said he had encountered very few “big issues” on people’s minds while doorknocking this summer.

“I think the defining thing about this election will be COVID, and it will be no doubt become known as the COVID election,” he said.

“So I think people think the Government’s done a good job of it but they should remember they’re voting for their local member, and the local member’s not Mark McGowan.”

“We’ve supported all their legislation,” he said, referring to the WA Nationals’ support of the state of emergency measures taken to limit the pandemic’s fallout.

“It’s not uncommon for people to come up with a medical issue of some kind,” he said.

“Then that is a job for my staff to research.

“It’s important to do that research in order to get more and more health and medical services into Geraldton and the Mid West.”

When asked again how his shock move to change parties from the Liberals to the Nationals in 2019 had been received, he would not be drawn.

“I’ve had three Liberals have a go at me very politely,” he said.

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