Paul Winterton and his partner Natalie Flynn, who has cancer but was forced to turn up to vote.
Paul Winterton and his partner Natalie Flynn, who has cancer but was forced to turn up to vote.

Cancer patient forced to break self-isolation to vote

The Gap breast cancer patient Natalie Flynn is furious after being forced to risk serious illness and vote today because phone polling lines were blocked.

Ms Flynn, who turned up to the Payne Road State School booth with her partner Paul Winterton wearing a surgical face mask, said she was also in treatment during the postal voting registration period and missed the cut-off.

She had to close her Kenmore hairdressing and nail salon, Cannon and Co Hair, because of the 1.5m rule and could not afford the fine if she failed to vote.



"I've been in my bedroom since this started. This is the first time I've been out,'' Ms Flynn said.

"Every surface has been disinfected, the kids have had to stay outside my room. It's been very boring.

"I tried for several days to get through on phone voting but I kept getting messages to say their lines were busy.''


The Gap retiree Bernie Neville, 81, also broke his self-imposed isolation of three weeks.

He had been outside only once in that time, to buy groceries at Coles at The Gap Village shopping centre.

Mr Neville said he wasn't concerned about being infected and did not like postal or phone voting.



But he and several other voters at the booth got lost as there were so few other voters it was hard to work out where the entrance was.

First-timer Neve Lynch, 18, said she would never forget her maiden vote.

The University of Queensland politics student she was keen to turn up in person to lodge her first vote but her brother, who had recently returned from England, was in self-isolation.

"He tried to ring the phone polling line but couldn't get through,'' she said.

It was a case of all quiet on the western front as voters kept away from polling booths across the CBD and Brisbane's inner west this morning.

At times there was not a single voter at Petrie Terrace State School and Ashgrove State School polling booths, although the Lavalla Centre at Rosalie had a steady flow around lunchtime.

At Hilder Road State School in The Gap, ibis outnumbered voters.

Local resident Andy Speakman said he wasn't going to vote until he came back from getting a coffee and noticed the booth was open.

"I work in healthcare and voting just didn't seem to make sense (with virus precautions elsewhere),'' he said.

"I though it was closed, but when I came back I saw it was open and there weren't many people so I decided to go in.''

Lyle Crombie said he had not had a chance to pre-poll because he was working huge hours as a public servant due to the crisis, and his partner Kylie Butterworth had been too busy minding her two children.

"We were always intending to vote, we just didn't have a chance until today but it's very quiet.''

The Ashgrove and The Gap state school booths were also eerily quiet and not one person could be seen outside St Finbarr's booth on Waterworks Rd, normally one of the area's busiest, about 9am.

At Brisbane Central State School about eight people were walking in to vote, half of them wearing masks, but there was no queue or gaggle of volunteers waiting with how to vote cards like at the last federal election.

Originally published as Cancer patient forced to break self-isolation to vote