The official Crikey election party cupcakes:

Resident Crikey baker Ben Shearman has concocted the perfect accompaniment to any election party — campaign inspired cupcakes. Pictured below is a chocolate fudge frosted cake topped with a purple icing Worm and an Orangutan-inspired orange cake decorated with (appropriately) desiccated coconut hair:

Leader’s literary competition:

Group news Editor, Leader community newspapers, Nick Richardson, writes: Re. “Rupert’s minions rip off young writers” (yesterday, item 34). Running a literary competition is a strange business. You would have thought that all writers wanted to get published. And you’d think Crikey might have called Leader Community Newspapers about the Darebin Writing Competition to make some attempt to verify comments from some of the writers who took part. In the interests of rectifying that omission, there were competition terms and conditions that made it clear that once the writer submitted their work that they were actually agreeing to their work appearing in paper, on line and in an anthology. But the copyright for their submitted work, as the terms and conditions made clear, remains with the writer. In a legal sense, the writer was providing Leader with a licence to use the piece in this way. And no matter what your correspondent (a former Fairfax employee if memory serves) implies, Leader – and News Ltd – is not making any money out of this. We paid for the competition, the bulk of the sponsorship and the publication of the anthology. We’ve learnt a lot from this competition, and we’re the first to admit there may have been some problems which we worked to resolve, but there are some writers, just like Mr Childs, who remain unconvinced of our motives. It’s a pity: all we were trying to do was to provide an outlet for keen local writers to get published.

The Democrats self destruction:

Michael Byrne writes: Re. “We’re the party that ate itself: Democrat insiders tell” (yesterday, item 3). That was a fine history piece by John Cherry and Vivienne Wynter. I often wondered what saw the destruction of Meg Lees. Her conquerors seemed to rationalise their action on her compromise, or sell out as expounded, on the GST. The Dems gained my vote at the time in 1998 – the only time – and reported as their most successful poll. I voted because they offered a superb candidate in Aiden Ridgeway and they promised to let the people speak so that if the Liberal Party retained Government with the GST plan fully communicated to the public, then the Democrats would push for GST free fresh food and a few other items but otherwise support the Bill. Meg Lees did exactly what she promised in getting GST exemption for fresh food at least. A policy bargain that I and most Australians benefit from daily. The history piece shows the Democrats went for froth and bubble style over active substance prior to the 2001 election. And I was one of the substantial number who never visited the Democrat Box again on the ballot paper.

Michael Thomas Stanley writes: While it cannot be denied that many Democrat wounds were self-inflicted, they were also inevitable. Political longevity, influence and effectiveness spring from deeply held philosophical underpinnings – think socialism, communism, capitalism liberalism etc. In Australia that has been simplified to a Liberal freedom of the individual stance opposed by Labor’s belief in the utility of the collective. Everything else has been peripheral single issue parties from “keep the bastards honest” to nuclear disarmament. There is a real and meaningful changing of the guard now, though. The Greens are on the way to becoming one of the great philosophically enduring parties. Single issues like the Franklin Dam it has previously been wedged into (even the attempt with the pulp mill this time) have inverted this election to place the Greens’ core enduring Aboriginal philosophical respect for land and planet at the forefront of the 21st century’s most crucial issue. A party of disaffected Liberals and soft Laborites with an accountant’s philosophy of balanced pragmatism was always transitory. The only question for Natasha Stott Despoja is whether to join the ALP or the Greens. As the actors enter and leave the political stage in search of a future role, the Green room beckons.

Jonathan Yarad writes: I wrote to Lyn Allison last year (no response) providing tips for survival. The problem with the so called Democrats, is that they just keep moving to the left. With the Greens and Labor and the Democrats wanting to be somewhere in between, their destination was oblivion. The Democrats constantly hounded the Coalition and constantly agreed with the ALP obviously. I use to vote Democrats in the Senate when they were in the centre. I have not since the departure of Meg Lees. When people like Lyn Allison and Andrew Bartlet join the wrong party, their demise was only a matter of time.

Luke Miller writes: I’m actually really proud to be a Democrat. I joined after 2004 and long after the events described in your article.

The high and low laughs of Election 07:

Brett Elliott writes: Re. “The high and low laughs of Election 07” (yesterday, item 6). I don’t know who’s responsible for this, but get them back! It’s the funniest thing I’ve read in eleven years. More please.

Beattie Hatfield writes: Today’s Crikey has lots of great stuff but the Election Laughs is an all time winner. Thanks for the thoughtful creativity, after the best laugh in ages I am still smiling.

Mark Edmonds writes: The Crikey Psephological Observation Unit observes that Kevin Andrews, who has presided over WorkChoices, and delivered us incarceration without trial or indeed, even cause, is a Christian. Presumably there is a relationship between Kevin’s very ordinary policy agenda and woeful policy execution, and his religious beliefs. The knowing reader is supposed to see the connection – “Ah yes, Christian, that explains the fascist incompetence of the man”. Crikey’s team might like to peruse the New Testament gospels wherein they would find that Jesus has a deep compassion for all people. They might then acquaint themselves with the sizeable majority of Christians who do not fit nicely into their American Christian/Religious Right model, though maybe not amongst Crikey’s readership.

Erika Haber writes: You just can’t balance your journalism, even your jokes are leaning left. You might be suffering from a middle ear infection.

And our reader’s highs and lows of the campaign:

Paul Cole writes: Julia Gillard’s voice: A robotic drone that goes on and on, peppered with cliché’s and slogans. It does not draw breath or stop… even when there is nothing left to say.

Dave Smartt writes: Caroline Overington’s girly talk and John Howard’s attempts to go for the animal vote after acknowledging that human vote is lost.

Cathy Bannister writes: Wayne Swan as Miss Jan, explaining how to reduce our shopping bills by buying specials and always checking the receipt. Must have played well with all those who live the last week of the month on potatoes so that they can afford dental work. Next – how stamps work.

James Moylan writes: Kevin Rudd leaping onto the stage at the Labor Party launch clad in only an economic loincloth.

Don’t count on a Ruddslide:

Alastair McConnachie writes: Re. “Abjorensen: Too many variables to be sure of a Ruddslide” (yesterday, item 8). Norman Abjorensen’s application of Rumsfeldian logic to the electoral pendulum is an absorbing piece of work; however I’m intrigued by the omission of the seat of Parramatta from the list of those seats that would fall to Labor with any kind of swing. Parramatta is Labor-held, but notionally a Liberal seat on a 0.8% margin following the last redistribution. Surely it should be included the list of 16 seats most likely to fall if Labor is to win Government on Saturday? Parramatta does seem to be the poor relation of at-risk seats – I’ve noticed it missing from more than one analysis in more than one publication. Or am I missing something?

Garth Wong writes: Norman Abjorensen has lied himself when he alleges the PM has lied about interest rates continues to rise. The PM never said interest rates would never rise. He only said, “Interest rates will always be lower under a Coalition Government than an ALP Government.” This statement is still true since he uttered it as the present prime home mortgage rate of 8.5 %, despite the 6 rises since 2004 is still lower than under Whitlam, Hawke or Keating ever managed.

Richard Flanagan on the pulp mill:

Lynn Good writes: Re. “Richard Flanagan: why we must stop this dark, satanic, mill” (yesterday, item 29). The ferocity of Richard Flanagan’s broadsides against the Gunns pulp mill are much less remarkable than the complete absence of any substantive rebuttals from the mill’s supporters. While the failure of John Gay and Paul Lennon to debate any issue has an obvious rationale, you have to wonder how the priggishly vain Kevin Rudd is going to defend such a sordid mess. The mill’s recently released wood supply agreement appears to contemplate transferring a large portion of the state’s forest to Gunns’ ownership on unspecified terms, Lennon’s former forestry minister, Bryan Green, has just been isolated as the only defendant in a criminal case, and the controversial Meander Dam, of which Gunns stands to be the greatest beneficiary, is reported to be leaking. Kev’s effort to appear ruggedly conservative on this issue could be the bucks party of his reign.

David Flint:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Flint: Behold the arbiters, for they will decide the election” (yesterday, item 9). David Flint’s aside about the “ethnic Chinese voters in Bennelong, who have a higher respect both for the office and person of the Prime Minister, and would feel a sense of shame if they were to be seen to be involved in his overthrow without justification” is just a bit patronising. I think the Australian Chinese community have moved on from Confucian clichés, even if he hasn’t. While some like Howard, others vote Labor, and many gave strong support to Unity in the past. Some have only recently migrated (or had his electorate migrate to them), so don’t have the long familiarity with the Great Pedestrian that Flint implies. On the other hand, his attack on the pontificating elite is spot-on.

Curtin Uni:

Brian Mitchell writes: Re. Damian Leach (yesterday, comments) saying Curtin Uni is in the marginal ALP seat of Swan and not safe Liberal seat of Pearce (Crikey, Wed): Curtin Uni has a bunch of satellite campuses scattered throughout metro and regional WA. Not sure if any are in Pearce (a semi-rural seat on the eastern outer-metro borders), but it’s entirely plausible, even likely, that if the Libs poured funds into a university, that university is a) in a Liberal seat or b) in a marginal Labor seat that the Libs think they might win. I recall the feeding frenzy in the press about Ros Kelly’s whiteboard “sports rorts” in 1996 and the media coverage about the 2007 LibNats’ rorting has been much more muted, despite the crime – I use the word deliberately – being far greater. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars being misspent, sometimes without even the pretence of an application being submitted. This is perhaps the story of this campaign, and it’s an apt metaphor for the way Howard has run the place for eleven years, putting self-interest about national interest and spending whatever it takes.

Here you go:

David Hawkes writes: Ernie Biscan (yesterday, comments) wrote: “For historical reference, and to put the greenhouse story in context, can Crikey reveal who got their gear off in the February 1980 edition of Playb-y?” Ernie, according to the web, the February ’80 Playb-y stripper was Suzanne Somers.

The music, not the lyrics:

Jim Hart writes: Re. “The perfect election playlist for every eventuality” (yesterday, item 18). Here’s a special all-Bob Dylan playlist for John Howard who reportedly likes Dylan’s music except for the words. (Huh?):

Changing of the Guard
Going Going Gone
I Shall be Released
If You Gotta Go, Go Now
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
Knocking on Heaven’s door
Man of Constant Sorrow
One Too Many Mornings
What Good Am I?
When the Ship Comes in
With God on Our Side
You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go

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