After 11 years of bad government, the Australian people finally summoned up enough common sense to send John Howard packing, and he looks likely to have become only the second sitting Prime Minister after Stanley Bruce in 1929 to lose his own seat! Labour, who began today with 60 lower house seats, gained the 16 required to form a majority and look set to come out of the election with 86. This time last year, Luke and I talked about how much we liked Kevin Rudd and how we wished he led this country. A couple of weeks later, he was leader of the Labour Party. And now? Kevin Rudd is the 26th Prime Minister of Australia! Abso-fucking-lutely fan-bloody-tastic.
Even more delightfully, the Greens were the only party of any significance besides Labour to increase their primary vote, by 0.6% nationwide (this despite strong demographic overlap with Labour supporters!), and achieved the best result of an Australian third party ever. Their nationwide vote is actually higher than the junior Coalition partner of the Liberals, the Nationals (but as the Nationals vote is concentrated in rural areas, they are able to win some seats). The Greens look set to have multiple Senators, including leader Bob Brown, who was resoundingly returned to the Senate as a representative for Tasmania. In the House of Representatives, they polled very strongly in some areas, including the central Melbourne seat where they look probable to come second, behind the Labour candidate and ahead of the Liberal candidate. In my own district of Wills, David Collis, who I quite like, performed sensationally despite Labour's Kelvin Thomson's resounding win, and I hope he stands again. If I may be optimistic for a moment, we may soon have the Greens in the lower as well as the upper house. We had a false start with the Democrats as a viable and successful third party, but I think the Greens are looking strong and cohesive and have a very bright future.
The losers? John Howard looked like he was about to cry during his concession of defeat. Mal Brough is gone - I actually didn't mind him as much as some of the other Liberals, but his intervention in the Northern Territory was nauseating and I lost all respect for him over that. The Liberals in general have had their arses so roundly kicked in recent state and federal elections that Brisbane's mayor, Campbell Newman, is actually the highest ranking Liberal officeholder in the country! Speaking of parties receiving kicks in the arse, the Democrats have plunged into electoral oblivion and have surely entered a void from which they will not return. Their vote was bad, embarrassingly bad, worse than Family First, worse than even the Christian Democratic Party, and they now have nobody at all in either house of parliament. Family First - Fundies First - had a bit of a decline in their vote, and one can only hope this trend will continue in the future.
This is fantastic. The entire decade I've lived in Australia, John Howard has been Prime Minister. He's finally gone. Good riddance, Johnny. All the best to Rudd.