Friday, November 23, 2007

Election Day Buzz

There’s a certain excitement in the air today. Federal election. Compulsory voting and it’s been a long campaign. The opinion polls have been all over the shop predicting everything from an overwhelming landslide change of government to a narrow retention of power for the incumbent government. Daughter has a friend over they are both voting in their first election. I am very impressed and proud as both have carefully considered the policies of the candidates and made their decision based on policy not just the media. They talk of friends and voting intentions, preference allocation and policy. We talk history and context to elaborate on the strategy required for voters in getting a parliament consisting of the right mix of elements.
Polls have been open an hour or so. We’d been warned by others that voters are turning out early and in large numbers. We finally find a parking spot and wander on into a local school to vote, running the gauntlet of party faithfuls handing out how to vote leaflets. I take one from everyone. I don’t like to suggest to all and sundry how I intend to vote. There’s a delicious smell and a festive atmosphere the parents and citizens are holding a barbeque and selling lamingtons as a fundraiser. Robbie Williams playing for the entertainment of the queue which is already quite long, and building steadily behind us as we join the line. Husband hands over some cash and directs daughter to buy some sausage sandwiches. They smell great but I give it a miss. They have a poster up this year suggesting voters may like to check how the different political parties are allocating their preferences, in case you just want to allocate your senate vote along the party line. I don’t recall having seen this information in past elections. I guess that’s the beauty of an independent electoral commission. Each year there are improvements to the system. We wander in and take advantage of the offer, but I don’t like any party’s preferences so I number 1-79 to allocate my preferences in the order I have decided on. Daughter’s friend has also decided to number 1-79, so we wait outside for him. This gives us plenty of time to buy a dozen lamingtons. Quite good. We discuss politics and the election some more, and how we are looking forward to the election coverage tonight as we head home. I lament the skill of Antony Green and his election outcome computer modeller. He is so accurate and he generally has the result correctly identified within an hour of polls closing. I liked it better in the days when you watched the commentary from the national tally room all night as the booths were counted and marked up on the boards. It is one night every few years when the politicians forget the spin and just speak as people as with the electorate they watch the results flood in. If one of the parties gets a big shock, you get some really spontaneous and honest responses and a greater insight into the people behind the performance. Love it.
Well, I can’t wait for the polls to close. This should be one of the most interesting elections in years, and to my surprise I’ll be barracking for some pollies on both sides. There are some good sensible people who’s seats are apparently line ball. There MIGHT even be a spill in the Prime Minister’s own seat – I can’t quite believe that will happen though the electoral boundaries have been redrawn this election and he’s not so safe a seat any more.
7 hours to go.

No comments: