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Ian Warden: How to treat sufferers of premature voting?

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"What's the name of the prime minister?" I was quizzed just a few days ago after I'd had a heavy fall involving a teeth-rattling thump to the head. Folk were seeking to assess my disorientation.

"Jacinda Ardern" I rejoiced.

Mistaking my wishful-thinking fantasy for proof of concussion, my rescuers hurried me away for assorted tests and scans.

Suddenly, teeming millions of Australians are taking the opportunity to cast their federal election votes before the May 18 election day. Picture: Robert Peet

My tumble and my largely true account of what followed it coincides with latest reports of how medical folk (for example paramedics and A&E nurses) are less and less likely to ask anyone "What's the name of the prime minister?"

It used to be one of the standard questions asked to assess someone's disorientation, an experienced A&E nurse told ABC Radio National's Patricia Karvelas, but these days the question is seldom asked. This is because experience shows, the nurse explained, there is such a widespread general ignorance of who the prime minister is that the question is no longer a good test of state of mind.

Political ignorance is much on my mind at the moment. As well as the nurse's sobering report of the nation's deepening dumbness it now emerges that voting in extra ignorance is one of the unforeseen consequences of what's been called the "early voting revolution". Suddenly,........

© Canberra Times