It hasn't been a big year for elections in Australia, with only one state election (although it was a humdinger) and a handful of by-elections, but worldwide it's been quite interesting -- especially in Europe, where fully a third of the 27 EU members held national elections. Four of the G20 nations (Canada, Turkey, Argentina and Russia) held elections, all of them returning the incumbents, although the Russian result needs to be treated with considerable scepticism.

Otherwise it was a mixed bag; some big swings and some long-serving governments tipped out, but some good news for incumbents as well. Without doubt the most pleasing development was the opportunity for voters in some Middle Eastern countries to cast meaningful votes for the first time -- with more to follow in 2012.