We voted early, at the local primary school. Grace found the whole process fascinating; waited patiently in line with us and then sat up on the cardboard booth as I filled out my Senate ticket, the long way. Then she helped me put my ballot papers in the box. Election, in box, she told me later. The day went on and I was busy and didn't give it much thought until about six thirty, as I started making dinner. We started listening to the election early. And come to think of it, I had been a bit tense about it. The thought of another Howard term being far too much to bear. I think it would have me loose faith in this country completely. Anyway, the first news was tentatively positive and I cracked open a cruiser from the other night. As the news from the tally room got better and better, you could hear mini celebrations across the suburb.
At one point after dinner I was on the internet and listening to the radio, ready to dash into the loungroom should anything good happen... Oooh the excitement, especially when it started to look as though Bennelong might fall (and now it looks like it has, go Maxine McKew! even the postal votes aren't going to change anything now). How good is that? Not only have the liberals lost government, but the toxic dwarf has been toppled from his seat. Heh, heh. I must admit I felt grimly satisfied as I watched John Howard concede defeat. Listening to Kevin Rudd's victory speech I felt optimistic yet a tad bored. He does go on a bit. Still. It's not everyday you become Prime Minister. Let's hope he doesn't stuff it up. That they don't stuff it up, that we don't stuff it up.
But for me, I think the really big joy of the night, apart from the ALP victory, was listening to Julia Gillard. She's smart, she's articulate, she doesn't um and err. She comes across as tough, and as G says she plays the ball and not the man. She'll be able to run with the bully boys in the party room. As a woman, I find her enormously appealing; a woman's woman. And she's now up there at the top, maybe with a shot at being Prime Minister one day. Hopefully she'll be able to unleash the pinko within. It also occurs to me that there may be lots of new women entering parliament. Some I may not have heard about yet. Oh gosh I hope there are some more good, smart ones.
So here's to a new chapter in our country's history, hopefully one characterised by more care and kindness. A moment of optimism, if you will. It has to be better than the last decade. Doesn't it?