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Funny photos highlight serious pothole problem on Victorian country roads

May 29, 2022 2:30PM Kids News

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Alex Dyson’s funny photos aim to highlight a serious problem with the state of rural roads in southwest Victoria. Picture: Facebook media_cameraAlex Dyson’s funny photos aim to highlight a serious problem with the state of rural roads in southwest Victoria. Picture: Facebook

civics

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An eye-catching and humorous campaign aimed at fixing rural roads is set to continue in the wake of the federal election.

Independent candidate Alex Dyson contested the Liberal safe seat of Wannon in Victoria’s southwest, using a series of funny photographs to highlight the serious problem of potholes in the region.

“Chronic underfunding of regional areas and safe seats means country drivers are put at risk every day,’’ Mr Dyson, a former Triple J radio breakfast host, said.

media_cameraAlex Dyson plants a garden in the crumbling bitumen on a southwest Victorian road. Picture: Facebook

The Warrnambool-born candidate posed on the roads in various guises*, pretending to swim, play golf, water plants and even take a bath in the bitumen craters near the rural town of Hamilton.

His funny stunts gained traction* on social media and they were rated as one of the cleverest campaigns of the election.

media_cameraThis pothole is big enough to dive into, according to Alex Dyson. Picture: Facebook
media_cameraAlex Dyson believes not enough government money has been spent fixing potholes on the roads in his electorate because it is a safe Liberal seat. Picture: Facebook

His photo gallery was made in conjunction* with the Fix Our Rural Roads campaign, which is continuing after the election.

“I hope Wannon becomes marginal* and doesn’t stay a safe seat because then there is more of a chance of getting the roads actually fixed,’’ campaign leader Tash Frankensteiner said.

Many people believe safe seats miss out on government money because members of parliament would rather focus on areas where spending could sway* voters at an election.

media_cameraThis pothole makes a nice ice bucket for Alex to keep his champagne cold. Picture: Facebook

The electorate of Wannon has been Liberal heartland* since the 1950s. It was also the seat of former prime minister Malcolm Fraser from 1955 to 1983.

The Liberal candidate in the May 21 election, Dan Tehan, has held the seat since 2010 and won again this time around, despite a 6 per cent swing against him.

Mr Dyson collected almost 20 per cent of primary votes* compared to Mr Tehan’s 45 per cent. But he closed the gap when preferences* were distributed, claiming about 48 per cent of votes compared to Mr Tehan’s 52 per cent share.

media_cameraAlex Dyson poses as a traffic control worker to highlight the need to fix damaged rural roads. Picture: Facebook

GLOSSARY

  • guise: the way someone or something looks but which often hides the truth or is only temporary
  • traction: become popular or accepted
  • conjunction: happening together or combined with
  • marginal: having a small difference in the number of votes that go to the different political parties, rather than just one party getting a large majority of the votes
  • sway: influence someone to act in a certain way
  • heartland: the centre of support
  • primary votes: the first preference or number 1 votes given to candidates in an election, before second, third and other preferences are counted
  • preferences: the votes given to candidates after the first preference or number 1 votes have been counted

EXTRA READING

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On the election campaign trail

QUICK QUIZ

  • What seat did Alex Dyson contest in the federal election?
  • What serious problem is Alex Dyson trying to draw attention to?
  • Why does he believe this problem exists in his region?
  • Name three of the funny poses Alex Dyson has used in his photographs.
  • Which former prime minister held this seat from 1955 to 1984?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. What’s your issue?
In a pair or small group, identify an issue that you think needs to be addressed in your local area. (Some possible examples are: vandalism; a lack of playgrounds; dumped rubbish; etc.) Stage a humorous photograph, similar to Alex Dyson’s, to draw attention to your issue. You may need to create some simple props to use in your photograph and consider the best location around your school grounds to snap your campaign.

Time: allow 45 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; The Arts; Digital Technologies; Personal and Social Capability

2. Extension
With your partner or group, brainstorm and agree upon a slogan to go with your photograph.

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social Capability

VCOP ACTIVITY
Audience appeal
Why do you think this campaign has been so successful compared to just saying that the roads need to be fixed? There are many different ways to persuade people to listen to a message, why do you think he chose this way?

If you were trying to convince the principal to resurface the school basketball court that was cracked and broken, or to update the playground equipment that was too small, what are some ways you could deliver the message that was appealing?

Pick one of the issues above, or create a new one that is actually relevant to your school. Then with a partner come up with three unique ideas for an advertising campaign that you are going to deliver to the school principal and students. Make sure you keep both target audiences in mind with your campaign.

How will VCOP help you in the campaign?

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