Seven incredible moments from a dysfunctional weekend

Prime Minister elect Tony Abbott arrives home at his home in Forestville, Sydney, after a morning bike ride.

Prime Minister elect Tony Abbott arrives home at his home in Forestville, Sydney, after a morning bike ride. Photo:

This wrap up seems redundant, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t have watched the election coverage – unless of course you are someone who understands that your time on Earth is finite and one day you will be returned to dust whence you came, and so instead of watching a bunch of smug hacks sit around a big cheap desk pretending to look at a hologram for four hours, you spent it with the people you love, connecting with each other on a human level and weaving another thread into the rich tapestry of life – you know, like an idiot.

I watched the all of the election coverage, mainly because I am contractually obliged to do so but also so you didn’t have to. So, in the sense that I assume that some glaciers are warmer than other glaciers, here are the most exciting outcomes of the 2013 Federal Election.

1. Surprise Win In Greenway


The most marginal seat in the whole of NSW, held by Labor with a margin of 0.9% and nestled in an area where Labor was so unpopular it was being outpolled by Being Punched in the Groin, Greenway looked like it was a lock for the Coalition. That is, of course, until Jaymes Diaz rolled into town with all the charisma and smarts of a broom with a face painted on it. But even though he spent the entire campaign literally hiding from the media and the people in his electorate, pollsters continued to call Greenway for Diaz, and it seemed like he was headed for a sweeping victory -  like a broom with a face painted on it.

But they were wrong. Everyone was wrong, it turned out, because Michelle Rowland not only kept Greenway, she actually made ground there. That said, Diaz is refusing to concede, despite over 80% of the vote being counted – typical of his famous never-say-die-or-anything attitude.

I like this story not just because it’s about someone being punished for being rubbish, it’s also about the media completely underestimating people’s ability to rise above the petty partisan politics of left and right for a moment to heap shit on an incompetent idiot. Warms the heart. 

2. Greens Keep Melbourne

The Greens primary vote received a hit at this election to the tune of roughly 3.3%, but Melbourne being Melbourne eschewed the mainstream and gave Adam Bandt another run in the House of Reps. This was a bit of a kick in the gut for Labor, as Melbourne was the only seat they really had any chance of picking up. On the plus side, it was an unexpected win for fans of the environment, human rights and bikes with only one gear despite bike gear technology being affordable, widely accessible and far less dangerous than careening down Chapel Street with your stupid legs flailing on the pedals like a meth-addled spider.

Speaking to the press from the Greens election party, held in a warehouse because of course it was, Bandt chalked the victory up to disillusionment with the major parties over issues like the environment and asylum seekers. He also added that policies and elections should bring out the best, not the worst in us, which is just adorable.  

3. (Possible) Christmas Miracle in Fairfax

The numbers are not yet in, and likely won’t be in for the next couple of days, but there is a very good chance that the Palmer United Party will win the seat of Fairfax. If that’s the case, mining magnate, hare-brained scheme aficionado and insane person Clive Palmer will be sworn into the 44th Parliament of Australia later this year, no doubt while the ghosts of Henry Parkes and Edmund Barton stand to the side and nod sagely.

The AEC haven’t finished distributing Palmer’s preferences, possibly because it’s difficult to keep count while a notoriously litigious billionaire is threatening to take you to the High Court.

Still, if Fairfax falls to Palmer, you can guarantee that watching him use parliamentary privilege for the first time will be like witnessing a toddler take the controls of a helicopter.

5. Too Close To Call in Indi

‘The truth is’, said Sophie Mirabella to a huddled crowd of supporters on Saturday night, ‘Indi has never been a safe Liberal seat’, which I can only assume was greeted by pensive nodding by those in attendance and not the following:

“I mean, you’re probably right Sophie, it’s just that… well…Indi has been held by the Liberal Party since the mid-70s, and reasonably comfortably too. But apart from that, you’re right…although when you think about it, the last time Labor won this seat was in 1928, and even then, due to a clerical error, the Labor candidate ran literally unopposed. But aside from those two things, you’re right about it being a dicey Liberal seat….except it was held at the 2010 election with a margin on about 9%, which by anyone’s math should have made it safe seat in 2013, and yet here we are with a whopping 8.5% swing against the Coalition…you know what? I’ll go. I’ll see myself out. I might just take a bit of cake, would you mind if I – actually no you’re right, I’ll just go.”

6. Entirely Underwhelming But Lauded Success in Griffith

There was a lot of noise leading up to the election that Rudd might lose the seat of Griffith to the LNP’s Bill Glasson. This idea was pretty much based on a bit of robo-polling backed up by a giddy sense of wouldn’t-that-just-be-the-best. Problem here is that robo-polling is famously ineffective, (in stark contrast to robo-copping) and poetic justice has never been a powerful determiner of outcomes. So while there was a hefty swing toward Glasson, Rudd held Griffith with a bit of room to breathe.

This victory, it really must be emphasised, was not remarkable. In all of Australia’s history only two PMs have been unseated – John Howard against Maxine McKew in 2007 and Stanley Bruce in 1929– and so given Glasson is neither a well known media personality or The Great Depression, just getting a swing against Rudd higher than the national average was impressive.

So when the PM said this in his concession speech with a cheeky grin…

“It would be un prime ministerial of me to say Bill Glasson eat your heart out, so I won't.”

…he did so with all the grace and dignity of someone shitting themselves at the opera.

7. Katter Very Nearly Loses Kennedy

For a moment there, it looked like Australia had asked everyone’s favourite crazy uncle to quietly leave Christmas lunch. Bob Katter, head of the Katter Australia Party and shouting enthusiast, suffered a gigantic swing toward the LNP to the tune of roughly 16%.

The LNP are holding out hope that postal votes will get them over the line, but ultimately it looks like Katter will retain Kennedy. And just as well, too. After a decade, Australians have gotten used to Bob Katter in the parliament, the place wouldn’t be the same without him. Whether it would be better or worse is up for discussion, but it certainly wouldn’t be the same.


There was a lot more that happened on Saturday night that we don’t have time to get to. Bert van Manen kept Peter Beattie at bay in Forde; Mike Kelly looks to retain Eden Monaro - which is great news for him, but bad news for fans of bellwethers; and perhaps maybe most significantly of all, Australia no longer has a parliamentarian by the name of Sid Sidebottom.

Oh, and Tony Abbott became Prime Minister. That also happened.

19 comments so far

  • love this....gave me a laugh on this somber post election Monday morning.

    Date and time
    September 09, 2013, 11:40AM
    • Oh wow, this article was hilarious! I watched the election coverage too and completely agree with this synopsis. Thank you for the best laugh I've had in a while.

      Audra Blue
      Date and time
      September 09, 2013, 12:14PM
      • At least the PM can wear cycling kit and is moderately fit. I feel for the 65% of aussie men who are overweight or obese who are probably the very people who poke fun at him.
        "Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance." H. L. Mencken

        Date and time
        September 09, 2013, 12:20PM
        • Loved the last anecdotal line. Thanks, Ben Jenkins.

          Date and time
          September 09, 2013, 12:41PM
          • I would have thought Labor's lost seats is more hilarious, deliciously so.

            Date and time
            September 09, 2013, 12:49PM
            • *yawn*

              Date and time
              September 10, 2013, 8:02AM
          • Tony please, we know you have been busy recently, but couldn't you pay someone to clean the steps - should take about half an hour with a pressure blaster. Especially now that you might get some important visitors.

            Date and time
            September 09, 2013, 1:00PM
            • that's precisely what ms insomniac said

              Date and time
              September 09, 2013, 2:50PM
          • Yes...hilarious. I suppose when the copper network falls apart to the point where I can no longer access the Internet (having just lost 50% of my bandwidth in the last month due to copper degradation), at least I won't be able to read about what the rest of the world is doing while we regress to pigeon and parchment.

            Tim the Toolman
            Date and time
            September 09, 2013, 1:18PM
            • Kevin (in denial) Rudd losing was hilarious enough.

              Hope I never have to hear "fair suck of the sauce bottle" from his whiny pompus voice ever again.

              Date and time
              September 09, 2013, 1:26PM

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