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The Longest Day

25 November 2007

Yesterday, out of bed at 4.45am.  At a polling station by 6.  Two hour break in the afternoon.  Left polling station at 6.30pm.  Drove over to Maxine’s party, which was packed with her “Purple Army” and every journalist and TV station you could think of.   Clapped, cheered, sang and shouted myself hoarse until 10.30.  Then onto my friend Mandy’s to join her party and finally home and to bed at 1.00 am.  I worked out that I stood up for about 19 of the 20 hours I was awake yesterday.  It’s a long, long, time since I’ve worked as a waitress or behind a bar and I’d forgotten what it was like to never sit down.  David chauffeured Maxine’s mother during the day and went onto polling stations when they needed an extra body. 

The atmosphere at my polling station was fairly cordial because all the Liberals handing out leaflets were young Americans, in Australia for 4 months!  Just a fun day out for them with no commitment to Australian politics.  This also confirms my view that Howard’s young volunteers aren’t volunteers at all.   

We knew quite early in the count that Maxine had won but although Howard did say in his speech that last night was the end of his political career, and he conceded that he’d lost the Government, he wouldn’t concede Bennelong as the postal votes hadn’t been counted.  Maxine was very careful not to claim the seat as hers, despite all the political pundits and television stations saying that she’d won it.  At times like this, I wish they’d use the system we use in England.  All polling boxes for an electorate go to a central place (the Town Hall usually), the postal votes are thrown in, all votes are counted and only then is the declaration made by the Returning Officer, in front of all the candidates.  As well as making it absolutely clear who the winner is, it would also have meant that John Howard and Maxine would have stood on the same stage to hear the results.  I think I’d have liked to have seen that! 

It was a magical and history-making day, and I’m so glad I was part of it. 

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6 comments

  1. There is only one way to say it.

    Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  2. And you were there – right in the thick of it! What a magic moment – such a sweet victory – it almost upstages Kevin Rudd.


  3. Hurray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    MAkes coming to Sydney EVEN BETTER!

    (Scuse the shouting). (And well done).


  4. I don’t understand.. why do they have to be volunteers? Is it not legal to pay people to hand out leaflets or something?


  5. I have no idea whether it’s legal or not, but I do think it raises some interesting questions. 1) Why couldn’t the (ex) Prime Minister rally enough VOLUNTARY support to help him keep his seat (Maxine had practically more volunteers than she could find jobs for). and 2) Has he declared the money paid to these people as an election expense and if so, doesn’t that take him over his allowed budget? I just can’t conceive of a politician, particularly such a high profile one, being so short of willing hands that he has to pay for them.


  6. Wasn’t it just the BEST DAY? I only got to see snatches of the results as we moved house … but it was very very exciting – I just have this massive sense of relief now. SO glad you were so involved in the whole thing, what a blast!!



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