Well, I ran it again for the fun of it.
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Before counting started, Labour held 63 seats. 76 seats are required to form a majority and claim victory. So from the word go, they had to retain 63 and win another 13. The early signs were not good and it's getting worse. With about a third of the vote counted already, I'm prepared to call this in favour of the sitting coalition of the Liberal and National Parties led by John Howard. The vote, at this point, is actually swinging in favour of Howard, who is running for his fourth term. Like him or not, Howard would appear to be one of the most popular Australian Prime Ministers and he's back for his fourth term.
Let me hesitantly say hooray.
The biggest relief is that Mark Latham looks like he is going to lose. I could not tolerate a country run by a man who is uncouth enough to label the USA a "rogue state" and term Howard "[Bush's] arse licker." If you are running for a position of authority, you need to speak in a respectable manner. I see Latham as an incompetent leader without the required maturity or leadership, and the thought of a nation run by his style of 'government' is not pleasant to me. Regardless of what people may say about Howard individually and the Liberal Party in general, I actually like the current Prime Minister. I don't feel like I have been wronged by him, even if others have severe grievances with his actions. His leadership may not be stellar, but he's not a fool like Latham. I haven't had many biases heading into this election campaign, and the simple fact of the matter is that I do not like Latham the person and I do not like the party he leads. So just as long as he loses, I will be happy.
I also don't like change. I have found Howard's leadership to be stable, and the two issues people bring up against him aren't really issues to me.
1. The children overboard fiasco: If anything's gone overboard, it's been the fuss about an EXAMPLE. This was not an argument or a standpoint that Howard won upon, it was simply an example. If you're going to vote on the basis of a SINGLE EXAMPLE, that's pretty sad. Vote for a party's standpoint and policies, not a SINGLE ISOLATED EXAMPLE that in the grand scheme of things DOES NOT MATTER.
2. Howard's commitment to the War on Iraq: Guess what? When the invasion of Iraq was launched, I supported it. As I have learnt more about this war, the motivations, the evidence at hand, the lies, and total lack of planning, I have swung dramatically against it. However, I do not believe Latham's desire to bring the troops home swiftly would be beneficial. We've made a commitment to Iraq and we shouldn't back out of it just because we foolishly went to war in 2003. You can't change the past, and swiftly bringing the troops home will be detrimental to the future. If you begin a job, finish it. And I think Howard's going to do that.
So ultimately, Labour has lost. Howard is back. This is starting to look pretty firm and I'm going to go have a glass of red wine. I suspect I won't be doing the same at the next election. This will probably be Howard's last term, and next in line is Peter Costello, who doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of being elected as Prime Minister. The Liberal Party need to find a popular and likeable alternative to Costello or we will return to a Labour government when Howard retires. Even the most one-eyed Liberal supporter should acknowledge that.
As a side note, the Democrats have self-destructed and lost an amazing amount of votes, One Nation are a broken party who can't get anywhere, the Green vote has soared, and Family First have established themselves as a force amongst the minor parties. They can't just be written off as "those fundamentalist loons" and they have polled better than the Democrats, a party that once wielded considerable influence.
Tomorrow, I have my debating competition up at UQ, which would be fantastic if it weren't for the fact that IT'S ON THE SAME DAY AS THE BATHURST 1000. As in, the greatest car race ever, the car race that can even capture the interest of my mother, who finds car racing boring and silly. This race is GOOD and I'm really peeved that I'm going to miss it. Oh well. It's my last chance to debate in high school, and it will be very interesting working with a different, significantly younger team with severe time constraints. I think I'll enjoy myself, though I'm doubtful as to whether my teammates will. I hope they do. It should be a beneficial experience as far as their skills go. Honestly, I get the easy job, though I'm not sure everyone sees third speaker as the total bludge "I could do this in my sleep" position.
I haven't done the work I wanted to do this weekend. Ooops? Someone want to make me stop procrastinating? I procrastinate at stopping procrastinating. Heck, I even procrastinate at that. I need some motivation and I need it now. I need motivation in a lot of areas really. I'm worried that my interests have become far too narrowly focused and that they're draining away. Oh well, setlists are fun!