John Howard wooed back half the 1 million One Nation voters from 1998 and is back in for a third term in a triumph for red-neck politics.

The Crikeys were pleased with our vote in the seat of Melbroune. We both voted for a professional wizard and independent called James Ferrari with the idea being to choose a candidate who polled less 4 per cent and therefore did not get the $1.72 in public funding for each vote.

Paula then preferenced back to Labor while I went to the Liberal candidate Con Frantzeskos in our very safe Labor seat because he’s a Crikey subscriber and a nice chap who just lives up the road. This did not stop a gratuitous scrawl on the ballot paper: “Howard’s wedge politics sux – former Liberal.”

And in the Senate we voted for the Hope Australia Party before preferencing back to Labor and with Hope finishing well below 4 per cent we saved the taxpayer almost $7 in total on the day.

It is important to send a message to the scrutineers on the ballot paper so in the Senate I voted below the line and put Communications Minister Richard Alston last out of 52 candidades with the accompanying message: “Alston’s grovelling to media moguls sux – former Liberal.”

The Greens did extraordinarily well in central city electorates and Melbourne was no exception with and impressive 15.85 per cent of the primary vote falling their way.

Crikey contributor Hugo Kelly handed out HTVs for the Greens at University High and pulled in 21 per cent of the vote which is one of the best ever booths anywhere for the Greens.

So much for all these seats changing hands

After being told the vote would be all over the place we actually had an amazingly status quo election with only Dickson and Ballarat changing between the major parties. The ALP hung on to supposedly threatened blue collar seats like Banks in Sydney without any problem but did not pull any rabbits out of the hat in toffy seats like Wentworth.

While John Howard won the redneck vote back from One Nation with his appalling use of wedge politics, Labor lost a truckload of votes to the Greens from voters upset by their support of Howard’s heartless approach to asylum seekers.

We’ll be debating for years about what would have happened if Beazley has tried something bold on the border protection issue.

On Terry Lane’s radio program The National Interest, Bob Brown claimed a different approach on the boat people could have saved Labor but Brian Costar and Fran Kelly both disagreed with this when interviewed by Terry.

The amazing 15 per cent swing to independent Peter Andren in Calare back him a majority of the primary vote and he took a similar line to the Greens on asylum seekers.

Beazley would have needed to be equally bold on other issues such as the GST to cut through if they’d taken a different tack on the boat people.

The Big Man gave a good speech and put a positive spin on things saying that Labor contained the damage very well and was looking down the barrel of a landslide defeat just 5 weeks ago.

Crikey reckons he would have been a cautious left leaning PM and probably a one-termer but it would have been nice to get the Rodent out of Kirribilli House and to have a formal apology, a republic and so on.

The Rodent’s victory speech was not memorable and devoid of any vision. He said me, my and I countless times and we were all groaning at our place. I can’t remember a worse acceptance speech by maybe Crikey is biased.

THE BIG NAMES FALL

It is good to see the back of Cheryl Kernot at long last and we can’t wait to read her book setting the record straight. Can’t imagine anything worse. Michael Lee won’t be much missed if he goes down in Dobell and thank god Graeme Campbell and Pauline Hanson won’t be in the Senate.

NATIONAL PARTY UNDER THE PUMP

The National Party put in a shocker and have dropped from 15 to 12 seats to now only have 15 per cent of the seats in the estimated 80-seat Coalition. Stuart Sinclair got rolled by independent Tony Windsor in New England, Mad Bob Katter creamed the Nats in Kennedy and the Libs nicked Tim Fischer’s old seat of Farrer.

The only saving grace in the Reps was that John Anderson lifted his vote in Gwydir, Peter McGauran hung on in Gippsland and Larry Anthony hung on in Richmond, largely thanks to the elderly vote in Tweed Heads. Afterall, it was a grey power victory for John Howard more than anything else.

The big National Party run for the Senate in WA through Hendy Cowen fell flat on its face with a primary vote of only 2.44 per cent but Ron Boswell more than made up for this in Queensland and even got a special mention in the PM’s speech.

NSW Labor machine no longer the greatest

The one ALP branch that must hang their head in shame is NSW. They should have won in Parramatta, Lindsay and McArthur. The whole system of picking candidates must change. But I doubt if they have the brains in NSW. Afterall, they’ve now given us Jenny George and have tired old hacks like Leo Macleay, Steve Martin and Laurie Brereton still hanging around like bad smells. State secretary Eric Roozendal will have much soul-searching to do and his predecessor John Della Bosca will be feeling a little vindicated. The Qld branch must have a few question marks over them. What is it with these guys – they can deliver great wins on the state front but federally they are crap.

Feedback to [email protected]

* Crikey has 1900 subscribers who for $55 get a tee-shirt, 5 sealed section emails a week with this sort of material and access to our 2.4 million word searchable archive so why not join the Crikey army by clicking here to read the daily email updates with breaking news and analysis.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW