I didn't see all of the election coverage last night: we were having a meal at an Italian restaurant where the family next to us had a few kids who probably had a combined count of 5 vomits during their stay, with the last one being particularly spectacular. (The youngest toddler would vomit, then cause the older kids to get sick in sympathy. I felt sorry for the parents, but nonetheless was happy to see them leave...)
Anyhow, I was home in time to see the Rudd "victory in defeat" speech, which did go on a bit, to put it mildly; and caused tension by making Labor sympathizing viewers wonder if he was ever going to get around to saying he wouldn't lead the party in Opposition.
The Abbott speech was pretty lame, I thought, and the optics of it most noteworthy for the way in which it seemed that election victory was finally deemed good enough reason for the jettison of his barnacle-like daughters. (And yes, one was still dressed like Sporty Spice. Odd.) From the ABC coverage, the family started heading up the stairs to the stage to join him at the end, only to find he had already descended into the crowd. Good on ya, Tone, way to keep a look out for what's going on with the family. I assume the young guy who then gatecrashed the family together on stage happened later - it didn't appear on the ABC.
One good thing about this election result is that I don't think anyone can plausibly claim to be puzzled by it - there really should be a lot less of this journalistic guff about Party X having lost its way and having to have a 12 month period of navel gazing to work out what went wrong (which happens now whenever Party X loses an election.) We all know exactly what went wrong - basically, Kevin Rudd and the fractious internal politics of the last 4 years.
At about 34% of the primary vote, this is low for Labor, but who doesn't just mentally tack on the Greens to get a true picture of combined Left leaning vote? At 8.5%, the Greens are no doubt suffering from the replacement of the cheerful Bob Brown with a woman who naturally looks and sounds perpetually unhappy. But the combined 42.2% is not that far from the combined Coalition vote which looks like 45.3%. (As to where to position the Palmer vote - God knows. I suspect it is just a generic protest vote against politics, and neither side can take much comfort from it.)
It was therefore hard to be depressed with the result, because there was the feeling that everyone could claim to be a winner, in one way or another:
# There were enough seats in Western Sydney and Queensland saved for Rudd to plausibly argue he had helped the party after all.
# Julia Gillard was gracious in the off stage support for Labor, and her "captain's pick" of Nova Peris worked out after all.
# The Labor Party won by Kevin giving up the leadership.
# Mad Clive gets to create what will probably be some wildly unpredictable and theatrical political stories for the next couple of years at least before he has some physical or mental breakdown.
And of course, Tony Abbott gets to hesitate his way on national TV as PM instead of mere Opposition Leader. For the reasons I have been outlining for years, I don't expect he will do well, and he and his Party have faked their way into government. We now get to see if my Peter Principle diagnosis of him gets to be confirmed from the loftier position of PM. (Regardless of what the public thinks, it's already been confirmed to my satisfaction.)
As for my feeling on the Labor leadership - Bill Shorten performed well on his television appearances during the campaign, I thought. Before that, over the last year or two, I felt he has often seemed too stressed and grumpy, but his professional and personal life has been unusually difficult over the same period. I still think he is the most appealing of the possible candidates.
* families, particularly those on low income receiving top up superannuation and assistance with school expenses excepted, of course. As well as those who rely on penalty rates, public servants in Canberra, companies that wanted to decide on long term electricity investments within the next 12 months, car manufacturers and their employees, genuine refugees hoping for family reunion, environmentalists, etc. Apart from those, the future's looking fine and dandy.