As we get closer to the state election, not only will we see those seeking our votes on November 24 in the pages of this paper – they will start to bob up everywhere from community events to shopping centres.

They’d turn up in your morning Corn Flakes if they could, armed with a cheery smile, a firm handshake and a fistful of promises.

We have officially entered the AFLC season. There are – as of Wednesday, February 14 – 283 sleeps until you can cast your vote.

The 2018 AFL Premiers will have been celebrating for 55 days before you can decide who will be Victorian Premier.

Yes, the AFLC season lives up to its name – Awfully Flaming Long Campaign.

Who would want to put themselves through such an ordeal to become an MP? What a challenging job it is.

I watched via social media as our federal member Joanne Ryan spoke in the House of Representatives last week. It was a passionate, well-constructed 10 minutes about the seat of Lalor – the issues, the people and some politicking. Sadly, the chamber was virtually empty. The words did not so much fall on deaf ears, as hardly any ears at all. Yet when Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten are calling each other names, the same venue is packed to the rafters.

The scrutiny of politicians does become very personal, something I have no time for. Let me alert candidates in the coming election in our city that such campaigning will not be tolerated. Stick to the issues.

I know we live in a global world of modern communications, but for me you can’t really represent a group of people if you don’t live in the area. That should be a given, shouldn’t it?

There can be a world of difference in issues when you live 30 kilometres away from the action.

Joanne Ryan’s speech came from the heart and from being a local. It’s not about knowing where every pothole is in every road – it is about relating to the people and understanding and engaging in their issues because they affect you as much they affect them.