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24 November 2007 @ 06:47 pm
They've gone MAD at the tally room!  
The ABC just ran the figures for Bennelong, the Australian Prime Minister's (Liberal, John Howard) seat. On the basis of the booths returned, his opponent, former ABC journalist Maxine McKew, the Australian Labor Party (aka ALP) candidate, is ahead.

The tally room erupted in wild cheers, which caused me to shout at the television: "There's only 0.2% counted! Take a deep breath, people!"

Australian politics are very odd, some booths give very odd returns, in particular Bass and Braddon, which are the two Tasmanian seats that have heavy logging industries within their boundaries. In the logging towns the Liberals can poll around 60% and still the seat is not safe for them, because the larger towns can vote in the reverse, and they have higher populations.

Each seat has multiple booths within it, with the numbers being tallied across the board. The Prime Ministership goes to the leader of the party that takes the most seats across the country. It is still possible to win the popular vote and yet not take power (just ask Kim Beazley), but the process is far less convoluted than the American process.

Each voter fills in two forms, a green form for their lower house candidate, the people who are running for that seat, and then a white form for the Senate.

The Senate is Australia's upper house of parliament, the house of legislative reform, and each state has 12 sitting senators, regardless of population. Each Territory has two, for a total of 76 Senators, half of which change at each election. There are 79 New South Wales Senate candidates, almost all of which will come from the two major parties (Liberal and Labor) or the Greens (Kerry Nettle is a popular candidate).

You can vote for the Senate with one vote across the line, allocating your preferences to a party who will distribute them along pre-agreed lines, or vote 1-79 below the line, distributing your own preferences. All of these are on paper and are hand-counted.

While typing this, Braddon, one of the Tasmanian seats that will be essential for Labor, does look as though it will go to the Labor candidate. It's going to be close, but it could be an ALP win.

In other election news, I was surprised to learn that I knew five of the Senate candidates personally. I feel I may have been a trifle focused on the lower house race ...

ETA An hour later, they're still calling Bennelong for Maxine. Howard has held that seat for 33 years [oops! originally typed 11, because I am too sleep deprived to be based in reality), and has a swing against him of 6.6%. Good grief! And it's still to close to call overall since Queensland and WA aren't really featuring yet. Should get ready for my party ...
suonguyen: Deansuonguyen on November 24th, 2007 08:17 am (UTC)
Wow your somewhat of a celeb then.. lol. I went to vote today too, well I'd have to... but it was so funny the school I went to ran out of ballet papers (WTH?) and this guy comes storming out saying "Typical Liberal Party"

Oh well, cross my fingers that the Labor party wins ( no offense if you don't share the same opinion). I had a dream that they won... LOL.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 24th, 2007 08:23 am (UTC)
Nah, just well connected.

I, too, would prefer the ALP to win. The first time I moved to Australia for a couple of years my friends all said: "Why? WHY???"

I replied: "You don't understand. After years of Thatcher/Major shenanigans, I want me some Hawke/Keating goodness. Those Australians are serious about education, about reconciliation, all sorts of good socially progressive policies. They'll have gay marriage soon, just wait!"

Obviously I am hugely embarrassed to mention that these days ... Now I would just like Australia to stop its 12-year love affair with the 1950s.
suonguyensuonguyen on November 24th, 2007 08:52 am (UTC)
LOL gay marriages I can already imagine the uproar.

LOL being the 20-year-old girl that I am, I know close to nothing about the whole politics of the world. One of the biggest promises that stuck to my mind from the Labour party was world class broadband. You might be rolling your eyes... lol my parents did when I told them, but I've always voted for the Labour party, I liked Peter Beattie when he was Premier here. So cross our fingers! :D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 24th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC)
See, I think that Australia is actually quite close to the idea, because you have leading public figures like High Court Judge Michael Kirby and Senator Bob Brown who are out about their relationships and who have spoken publicly about the discriminatory impact of current policies on their relationships.

And while there would be some hand wringing and outrage, a lot of rural and regional Australia has moved to a position of acceptance on gay relationships thanks to increased openness of couples living in rural and regional areas, and this would swing the enclaves of mad religious suburbia, because nobody likes to be thought of as more close-minded than Goondiwindi ...

Broadband is a very logical reason to swing your vote. For me it was the general fight against evil, but I've always been more about the big picture than the specific issues ;-)
Blindmouseblindmouse on November 24th, 2007 10:51 am (UTC)
Howard has held that seat for 11 years, and has a swing against him of 6.6%.

How amazing is this? I could have done without the sweet old sister who won't be blind in heaven speech, but ... wow. Go Maxine.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 24th, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC)
D'oh! 33 years ... that's my typing for you ...

YES! It's brilliant! I'm just back from the election party and there was general glee and amazement. Had to laugh when John waited till Costello was into his speech before he came out to give his concession speech ... "I can fuck him over one last time …"

So looking forward to having my life back ...
Blindmouseblindmouse on November 24th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
I had a headache that sent me to bed before the concession speech, sadly. Not that I enjoy listening to Howard talk, but I would have liked to see that :-)
girl; obsessed: Anti-socialscomplications_g on November 24th, 2007 12:53 pm (UTC)
Yay! The Labor party has won. Did you see John Howard's conceding speech? It was so funny when he kept saying 'please' and flapping his hands when people were shouting about how great he was. He looked like he was going to cry on his way out. Ooh and he 'accepted fault' at the party's failure. Also Maxine McKew has almost definitely won Bennelong. Ah politics.

(Elections are so fun 'cos you have so much more material to make fun of politicians *g*)

Also, the (preferential) voting system confuses people. I have no idea why though, because how hard is it to number a bunch of boxes in the order you want? (Then again, i learned all this in my political and legal class at school.)

Ugh. I too wish Australia would catch up with the noughties(sp? 2000's) Everything here is so backwards, especially Perth.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 24th, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC)
YAYAYAYAYAY!!! And yes, that was a v funny concession. I was at a party and we were all waiting for him to concede (the numbers had been solidly against him for some time), but he waited until he could screw up Peter Costello's speech. Which was funny in itself.

And I agree! There was a tear! And yes, the first time he's accepted responsibility for something in some time (although it would have been nice if he could have admitted stuffing up about Iraq and the AWB and a few other points at the same time).

I don't know why preferential voting is confusing, either, there are simple instructions on the form! Clearly the education revolution is sorely needed!

Queensland surprised me, especially DeAnne Kelly being tossed. And Mal Brough! Hurrah!

I think that Perth will be the next capital city to leap forward. I'm not surprised that the swing to the ALP in the West wasn't the same as in the East, because the mining boom has skewed everything so strangely over there, but I think that there will be a strong local shift to look beyond primary industries and that training and education will become huge issues there over the next three years, with social change following.

Goodbye 1950s! Hello 21st century! Where have you been for the last 6 years and 11 months?