Saturday, November 24, 2007

Australia (and a coupla 'Ordinary Australians') vote.

As some may have noticed, I've been off line for about 2 weeks. We have been moving things around in our house, and one result was I only just got internet access back.

It's election day here in Oz. Our family voted this morning, and significantly, Daughter voted for her first time, having turned 18 less than 2 weeks ago (but you can register on the electoral roll at 17 to vote once turning 18).

It's just gone 5:30 here. Polls close at 6PM. Things happen quickly after 6. The Electoral Commission staff at each booth (polling station) close the doors, shutting in themselves and the Scrutineers - (a representative for each candidate in that seat who helps ensure the process is proper and above board) - in and the first, quick count is done by them, and phoned to the AEC, and by the Scrutineers to the candidates offices. (The first figures are known by 6:20 usually). (I used to Scrutineer).

Some thoughts;
. Labor/Rudd has been consistently ahead in the polls all year.

.It is the result in the 20 or so 'Marginals' which truly count - and will decide the election outcome.

.There is apparently a late surge towards Howard and the coalition (Lib/Nat).

My call? A Labor win.
I will update later tonight.

Update 25 November 2007: (These jotted down as we watched the coverage)
My promised update (though a little late - we had 'family stuff' to do).

.6:00PM Polls close in NSW and Vic (still 1 hr to go in Qld, as they aren't on Daylight Saving).

.6:05PM 'The Australian' newspaper exit polls suggest voting 53% labor to 47% coalition on 2PP (2 party-preferred) basis (we have preferential voting here in Australi - not first past the post).

.6:07PM Exit polls suggest PM Howard is in danger of losing his own seat of Bennelong.

.6:35PM First figures in from small booths - 15 of vote counted. exit polls showing 7% swing to labor - landslide material!

.6:55PM Former PM Hawke says "this feels like his 1983 win" Lib MP/Minister Joe Hockey says this is " end of the Democrats".

.7:12PM Lindsay showing 10% swing to labor. Almst certainly a loss for the libs.

.7:23PM Eden-Monaro 53/47% on 2PP "strong swing to labor in key seats".

.7:46PM "5% swing to labor in Qld. Ch7 computer predicts 76/72 seat split in House of reps (ie a labor win).

.8:00PM Polls close in WA (3 hrs behind eastcoast Melb/Syd).

.8:25PM Mark Kelly claims Eden-Monaro for labor - 1st seat claimed!

.8:30PM Julia Gillard says labor can form government.

.8:40PM Jeff Kennet says it looks like John Howard has lost the election and lost his seat.

.8:44PM "Queensland really delivering for labor"

.8:51PM Ch7 commentator Mark Riley calls it - labor victory. 6.5% swing nationally to labor.

.9:06PM First figures from WA. Ch7 election computer calls labor victory.

.10:05PM Howard phones Rudd to concede.

.10:36PM Howard arrives at Wentworth hotel in Sydney and gives speech conceding defeat (quite dignified and gracious).

.10:50PM "The Howard era has ended".

.11:05PM Rudd delivers victory speech at Suncorp stadium in Brisbane.

(All this scrawled down on the back of an envelope as we watched the tally unfold).

Why did they lose? In my opinion; WorkChoices (Industrial Relations legislation), and that the electorate has a better memory that some think - eg "who do you trust to keep interest rates low", Also, alienating 1.5 million voters who happen to also be gun-owners in 1996 didn't help, eventually.

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Anonymous Daughter said...

Hello Practicality Readers! The Daughter here, guest blogging.

I’m lucky that I got to vote less than two weeks after I turned 18. It was almost like having an introduction to adulthood in one day, seeing as you don’t usually feel any older on your birthday.

As we were getting ready to leave, I was excited. I have been reminded, especially in the past weeks, that our country is one of only six in the world to have continuously held the right to vote since 1900. That is something I have been taught to value, and I do.

Dad let me choose which polling booth we would go to - I chose my old primary school, which we noted as a nice touch of sentimentality; of growing up. The school had changed slightly, with new additions and expansions, but it was still very much as I remember it, and I remember it fondly.

We had been discussing my voting ‘technique’, and while Dad was careful to never tell me who to vote for, I got a few pointers on policies and other important things like that which were very helpful. Also, I was briefed (ahem) on the intricacies of the preferential voting system. Perhaps not necessary, but interesting all the same.

We went into the Hall, numbered the little boxes exactly as we saw fit, sent our ballots off, and I made a mental note that this was my opinion being valued. Often when thinking about how I would vote, I said to myself that, really, my one vote out of 13 million wasn’t going to count for a whole lot. But, that’s entirely not the point. This is an individuals opportunity to have their say and be counted. Voting with the mindset that your contribution is important and valued is the point.

The actual voting was over quickly, but I was happy to stand for a minute after putting my ballot papers in the boxes. There were people rushing past, just wanting to get the process over with, but I’m happy to say that on Saturday I recognised that I had a right, to exercise responsibly, to cherish. And that’s what I did.

Friday, November 30, 2007 9:18:00 pm  

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