As I'd previously said, we were away for a wedding on the weekend (Congratulations Andrea and Liam!), and so I wasn't able to blog the election results as they became evident. That has not stopped me from being incredibly pleased with the result!
I did a naughty thing at the wedding celebration, held in the garden of A & L's new home: I brought a little portable radio along, and from about 5.30 pm on, after the polling booths had closed in the Eastern states (with daylight savings!), I would occasionally duck off to a quiet spot and check ABC Radio 774 AM to see what the news was.
It was not so much excruciating, as a test in patience. As the evening progressed, I would dampen my enthusiasm by reminding myself that exit polls "have a checkered history" as the ABC reported, that with only 20-odd per cent of the vote counted it was too early to see a swing, that the WA polling booths were still open, that while Howard could possibly lose his seat, the count could change when they started counting from booths from more conservative suburbs etc etc.
It was only after over 50% of the vote had been counted did I dare believe that Labor had truly won the election. And even then, it I felt a bit numb.
But I couldn't dare believe that Howard lost Bennelong - even after one of the wedding guests returned in the evening to announce that news, to everyone's joy, I went to double-check with the ABC on radio, and they wouldn't call it, as it was so very close!
Three days later, they still won't call it. However close the result, I am very thankful to the people of Bennelong (well, 51.7% of them), who voted against John Howard in favour of Labor's Maxine McKew. If Howard really loses Bennelong, this will be only the second time in Australia's history that a serving Prime Minister has lost his seat in an election!
I'm disappointed that by the time we left the party, got back to our rented cottage, got the sleeping kids out of the car and into bed, and turned the TV on, I had missed Howard's concession speech (saw the tail end of him making his exit through the crowd). At least I caught Rudd's 'victory' speech – probably the only upside to Queensland not having daylight savings. But I agree with Barista - it was a rather pedestrian speech. Nothing to write home about, really. And Barista's right about the fact that election night belonged to the Labor women.
What made up for it all is that we came home on Sunday afternoon to the front page of the Sunday Age with this headline:
Rudd romps to historic win as Howard is humiliatedI think I'll frame that.