OZ VOTES 3
ABC reports John Howard has phoned Kevin Rudd to concede defeat. Current predicted Labor margin: 24 seats. Nick Minchin says result is “tragic for us on the conservative side of politics”. Julia Gillard says Howard will be remembered with “respect and affection”.
UPDATE. Jeff Kennett: “Not only are the Democrats gone, but the Greens achieved nothing, after all that effort ...” Not entirely - they did hand over the usual bunch of preferences to their ALP pals. Overall Green vote up only 0.6% on 2004, despite big early numbers.
UPDATE II. Pronounced by Julia Gillard, “ably” contains three syllables. Peter Costello is claiming that, just like Liberal leadership rival Malcolm Turnbull, he’ll achieve an improved vote - against massive national trends.
UPDATE III. John Howard arrives at the Wentworth Hotel to concede.
UPDATE IV. Howard congratulates Rudd on “very emphatic victory”. Says it has been a privilege to be Prime Minister of “this very beautiful country ... the Australian people are the greatest people on earth, and this is the greatest country on earth.” He’s leaving on some perfect notes. Australia will miss this bloke more than it knows. Howard also, as did Mal Brough, urges that Labor support ongoing intervention in wretched Aboriginal areas. Thanks staff for putting up with a “sometimes cantankerous” Prime Minister during the past few months. Lots of smiles. Final words as PM: “I wish the government elected by the people of Australia the very best in the years ahead.” Nick Minchin describes it as “a great speech from a remarkable man.”
UPDATE V. Kevin Rudd advances on the stage in Queensland. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT MUSIC?
UPDATE VI. Rudd: “Today Australia has looked to the future ... we as a nation will move forward ... we will write a new page in our nation’s history.” Promises to “always govern in the national interest”, which is a relief. Vows to “forge consensus” on issues of common interest. Veers towards template campaign speech at midpoint. Thanks “life partner” Therese.
Audience enthusiasm seemed to trail off a few times, particularly when Rudd mentioned “the worst drought Australia has ever suffered” (crowd applauded, hesitantly) and when he described the suffering of a long-time staffer: “He’s had to put up with me for FIVE YEARS!” (crowd applauded, nervously). Phrase “You know what?” used three times. “Working families” once.