More than £3,500 ($5617) was raised with 1,200 sausages sold to happy voters at Australia’s largest polling booth, numbering approximately 16,000.
Labor voter Katherine Ashton, 36, from Penrith, in the marginal seat of Lindsay, said she had come out to vote on Saturday after seeing the High Commission’s Facebook post promising democracy sausages.
“This is my first election in the UK and I wasn’t going to vote today until I saw on Facebook that there was definitely going to be a democracy sausage and it was only going to be today so I came specifically for the democracy sausage – it’s Australian, it wouldn’t have felt right without it.”
Twenty-nine-year old Ivy Huang, a voter from the seat of Warringah, where Tony Abbott is facing a strong challenge from independent Zali Steggall, said the question of whether or not there would be a democracy sausage in London was one she and her friend 27-year old Jennifer Worrall from Queensland had debated avidly at home.
“If they didn’t have one we were going to get together and have a democracy sausage party at home,” Ms Worrall said.
Ms Huang said she had voted against Tony Abbott but did not want to say if she had voted for Zali Steggal. Labor volunteers were seen handing out not just Labor leaflets but also how to votes for Ms Steggal.
And in another first, George Brandis later threw open the doors of Stoke Lodge, the Australian High Commissioner’s official residence for the volunteers of the three major parties who had spent the day manning the booths in weather conditions that ranged from hail, rain, and sunshine.
Mr Brandis said it was a celebration of Australia’s democratic system.
“Australian elections, regardless of who you support, are always conducted in a spirit of conviviality and friendliness at the polling booth and tonight’s function for polling booth volunteers is an extension of that,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
“Volunteers are and important part of the process and the reason is not just to celebrate Australian democracy but acknowledge your important role in the process,” he said.
Jason Groves from Australian Liberals Abroad and Paul Smith from ALP Abroad said it was the first time booth workers had been invited into the residence.
“This is the first time that polling booth workers have been appreciated for the contribution they make to Australian democracy in the UK,” the pair said.
“Today proved that everyone can come together around a democracy sausage and celebrate together what it means to be Australian in the garden of Stoke Lodge.”
Latika Bourke is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based in London.