Voice to Parliament: Is there a sausage sizzle shortage?

Some voting Australians may not be able to get their hands on a democracy sausage this weekend.

The democracy sausage is a tradition that defies all political parties and beliefs, but for some Aussies voting in the Voice to Parliament referendum on Saturday, a shortage may mean they leave snag-less.

"We have seen slightly reduced numbers of early nominations of sausage sizzles for the referendum versus the most recent federal election," Alex from Democracy Sausage told Yahoo News Australia.

The website, which uses crowdsourcing to map out the availably of sausages and cake across the country on election days, is right now only seeing about 10 per cent of polling locations with sausage sizzles nominated, compared to 41 per cent during last year's federal election.

Left image is a map of Australia showing where has nominated sausage sizzles. Right image is of a democracy sausage sizzle with snags on the bbq.
Only 10 per cent of polling locations have sausage sizzles nominated, according to the Democracy Sausage website at this stage. Source: Democracy Sausage/Getty

"[We] suspect we will probably get information for at least 15 per cent of sites by the end of tomorrow," Alex said. Despite this, he said he thinks "there will still be a healthy number of sausage sizzles on the day".

The Voice to Parliament referendum will ask Australian citizens over the age of 18 whether they support enshrining an independent advisory body for First Nations people in the constitution, with millions of people expected to flock to their local polling booths on October 14 to have their say.

Where are there the biggest democracy sausage shortages?

Though there are still stall nominations to be added, overall, the percentage of sausage sizzles available will be significantly lower for the referendum than previous elections, with some states being hit harder than others.

"Right now, we don't have anything listed in the Northern Territory, which is a little uncommon. We're also seeing fairly low numbers in South Australia, particularly compared to the last election," Alex shared.

An Aussie in Melbourne's Craigieburn has also noticed a shortage in their area. "Apparently none are having them in my area. Contemplating turning up with a couple I make at home, standing in line and eating them," they complained on Reddit.

Two maps side by side showing a comparison of nominated sausage sizzles in northern Melbourne suburbs, 2022 vs 2023.
Comparison of nominated sausage sizzles in northern Melbourne suburbs in 2022 vs 2023. Source: Democracy Sausage website

Why are we looking at a sausage sizzle shortage?

There are many factors at play this year, with a glaring one being that this is not a traditional election.

"This is the first referendum in Australia in approximately 25 years so we don't really know how sausages will play out on the day," Alex explained.

On top of that, schools usually use volunteers to run their stalls, but given the current cost-of-living crisis they are harder to find, with multiple educational institutions citing this as a reason for not hosting a sausage sizzle this year.

"It's a big job to organise and we struggle to get volunteers to help run them," one school who had to forgo the tradition this year told Yahoo News Australia.

"A lot of [schools] are having difficulties finding enough volunteers to host events. Our school isn't hosting a BBQ this time as we've asked so much from our volunteer pool already this year," another person shared of their predicament on Reddit.

"Honestly I think people are overwhelmed and exhausted. Volunteering vs having a side hustle which pays, or just rest and watch Netflix ... that sounds mighty attractive right now."

Aussies love a sausage sizzle

There is no denying that the democracy sausage is an enjoyable part of the voting experience, with hundreds of people online sharing their love for the tradition.

"Not having a democracy sausage sizzle during ANY voting should be illegal. If the next referendum was to vote for putting democracy sausages in the constitution, you would have the most bi-partisan legislation to ever pass," one person commented.

"Much like fruit buns mysteriously tasting better when there's a cross on them in the lead up to Easter, snags taste better on election days," another shared.

To find out where a nominated sausage near you is, check out Democracy Sausage.

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