Election Day – Semi-live blog

Well, good morning, all.

Remember how you woke up this morning, rolled over, and got up with a nagging feeling that you were supposed to be doing something today?

Put down that coffee.

You need to VOTE!!!

Yes, the polls are open, and it’s time to go exercise those flabby democratic rights we all carry around with us. (Okay, maybe not so flabby, but hey – it’s early and I could never resist a bad metaphor in the morning.)

So let’s kick off this semi-live blog-scapade. I’ll be popping in and updating periodically throughout the day and into the night until we have a result (or the world ends, whichever comes first).

Links will be (as usual) via Twitter and Facebook – and as I said, feel free to follow me on Twitter, @crazyjane13.

____________________

12:54pm

Definitely no result tonight. Many of us are afraid to sleep, in case we wake up to dinosaur-riding Nazis marauding through the streets …

But for now, it’s time to close off this semi-live blog. Thanks for sticking with us, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Sleep well …

11:51pm

Abbott’s speech is a huge contrast to Gillard’s. She was careful not to claim victory, or even appear to be exhibiting any form of hubris. He’s talked up the responsibility of belonging to a party, and gleefully announced that Labor has lost its majority – and therefore its legitimacy. He’s claiming that there is no way Labor could form a minority government and function effectively. Not content with that, he’s brought up the ‘execution of a Prime Minister’ by ‘the faceless men of the Labor factions’.

The arrogance is unbelievable. Without a majority, without being able to claim a mandate of any kind, without being anywhere near a result, he’s acting as though the result is foregone. The tone of this speech could not be more different to Gillard’s. She was gracious, acknowledged Abbott as a formidable opponent, congratulated the Independents and Bandt.

All Abbott has done is congratulate himself, and sneer at those who ‘don’t feel so victorious’ tonight. And he’s getting wild applause for it – especially when he says ‘stop the boats’.

Oh wait, he’s just said he’ll be ‘talking to the Independents’ in the next few days. That’s the first time he’s acknowledged them. How very – patronising of him.

11:16pm

Gillard has stepped up to the podium to acknoweldge that the vote will not be decided tonight, along with a great walloping spoonful of flattery for the Independents and Adam Bandt. After all, they’ll be the ones who are most likely to decide which major party gets to call itself the government.

These are the people who will probably decide how our country is governed for the next three years:

Bob Katt
Tony Windsor
Andrew Wilkie
Rob Oakeshott
Adam Bandt.

Go, look them up.

10:51pm

Still no result. We’re running out of cupcakes, and may be forced to resort to the cooking sherry before long.

The good news: Steven Fielding looks to be gone. Dead. Cremated. Buried.

The bad news: some people with utterly appalling political judgment appear to have elected Wendy Francis to the Senate in his stead. Yeah, you know who you are.

Meet the new wingnut, same as the old wingnut.

In completely bizarre out-of-left-field news, it looks like Uncle Wilson may have lost his seat. o_O We are in shock.

9.34pm

According to the ABC, the Coalition has edged ahead with 70 seats.

The AEC is still saying Labor 51%, Coalition 49%.

Just in case, we have switched to bourbon.

8.30pm

The Australian Electoral Commission is calling Melbourne for Greens candidate Adam Bandt.

It also looks likely that the seat of Denison in Tasmania will go to Independent Andrew Wilkie, formerly of the Greens. You might remember him from his ASIO days, when he acted as a whistleblower over ‘ethical conflicts’ related to Australia’s participation in the Iraq war.

With four Independents and a Green in the Lower House, a hung Parliament is looking increasingly likely. We may wake up to a minority Labor government formed by Coalition with the Greens.

Meanwhile, the party is in full swing. The sacrifical Sex Party cupcakes have been regretfully consumed, and we are starting on the Liberal ones – except no one wants to eat those.

7:20pm

Guests are arriving with baked goods. We have party-themed cupcakes (including a handful of blue-iced cakes with icing spelling out ‘NO!‘), and a huuuuuuge number of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

This is going some way to assuage our anxieties regarding the current count prediction, which is swinging between the major parties.

We are all consoled by the idea that Adam Bandt looks set to take Melbourne, though.

6:51pm

People beginning to arrive. Thrashing out rules for the election drinking game: 1 drink for every seat gained by Labor, 1 drink for every seat gained by Liberal, scull every time someone says ‘bellwether’.

Someone’s suggested sculling every time someone says ‘too close to call’, but we all agreed that was a short slide to crashing, drunken disaster.

Meanwhile ABCNews24 are calling Bennelong for the Coalition and Eden-Monaro to remain with the ALP.

5:15pm

Channel Nine’s exit poll says Labor 52, Coalition 48. Reports that Bruce Hawker (Labor strategist and sometime pundit) is currently wearing a sharklike grin. Opinions are divided as to what that portends.

4:30pm

First exit polls are in from Sky’s poll of 30 electorates.

2PP: Labor 51, Coalition 49.

The pollster says this does not include safer Labor seats, and so the national result will be more likely:

2PP: Labor 52, Coalition 48.

Primary vote breakdown:
ALP 42
Coalition 45
Greens 9
Other 4

With a margin of error, of course.

3:10pm

As both major leaders have now voted, the news networks have nothing to talk about until exit polls start trickling in. Consequently, they are concentrating on minutiae: ABCNews24 is doing a series of live crosses to marginal seats where they have reporters on the ground, while Sky’s talking heads are desperately trying to find something that say that hasn’t been said a hundred times already today.

In other news, a sewage truck has crashed in Cattai in Sydney’s northwest, and former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett has called Mark Latham a ‘turkey’. Somehow, these two items go together rather well.

2:14pm – UNSUBSTANTIATED REPORT, confirmation pending

Overheard in Sydney Airport earlier this morning, a senior Liberal party figure on the phone:

‘Joe Hockey?! … Yeah, look he’s fine, sure … but as leader? … Yeah … nah … Look, let’s just wait till six o’clock before we make any decisions.’

2:00pm

My democratic duty is done. Unsurprisingly, there was a conspicuous absence of Liberal volunteers at my Batman polling booth. I can report, however, that the sausages are satisfyingly crisp and the volunteers are generous with the onions.

Meanwhile, ABC Online has picked up the story about Libs dressing as Greens. The Queensland branch of the Labor Party has made a formal complaint.

1:06pm

Thanks to @dfhannah and @Cap_Slog, we now have a picture of those Liberal volunteers posing as Greens.

Apparently some volunteers also can’t respect the ‘no electioneering inside the polling place’ rules, as we can see in this picture from @infectedarea.

12:09pm

Reports coming in from Stirling, Canning and Ryan saying Liberal volunteers are posing as Greens and handing out Liberal-first, Labor-last how to vote cards.

And @annabelcrabb has unconfirmed reports that David Bradbury, Labor candidate for Lindsay, has dressed his volunteers in plain blue shirts with no logos. Voters could be forgiven for mistaking them for Liberal volunteers.

11:45am

The spirit of Australian entrepreneurism (or maybe just opportunism) is alive and well in the electorate. The sausage sizzle monopoly is being challenged by a number of new competitors. Baked goods are featuring heavily, although at least one polling booth is offering wine and cheese for those of us who need to start drinking really early. Sources do not say whether the wine in question was Chardonnay.

11:20am

First reports of dirty tricks are surfacing. In the seat of Ryan, people dressed in shirts with the message ‘Voting Greens?’ are apparently handing out how-to-vote cards for the Liberal Party, advising voters to preference Labor last (via @girlgerms).

10:30am

There’s not a lot of news right now – although Sky is, hilariously, already showing (unsurprisingly) a seat count of Libs = 0, Labor = 0. Both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott have plenty of scheduled media events throughout the day.

Rumour has it that sausage sizzle quality may be down this year; Abbott has already promised a Royal Commission into this scandal.

On a more serious note, the Defence Department has just announced that two Australian soldiers serving in Afghanistan were killed while on patrol looking for improvised explosive devices. Gillard will be speaking to the media, but not taking questions about it.

The war in Afghanistan hasn’t figured heavily in the campaign so far (with the exception of the Greens, who have been calling for an exit strategy). This news, coming on Election Day, could have an unforeseen effect on voters’ last-minute decisions.

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