federal election Labor
Labor supporters watch the tally count at the Federal Labor Reception (Image: AAP/Lukas Koch)

It takes about an hour for the cheers to die off, and maybe another for the tears to start.

Labor voters are nervously confident of an ALP victory as they start pouring in to Melbourne's Hyatt Place at 6.30pm. With exit polls at 52-48 there is widespread fretting about seats, but a general confidence. People are taking the opportunity to mingle in a sea of red, with guests like Father Bob and Egg Boy (if they can get past his media minder); everyone cheers as the early Warringah votes come on. I speak with a foreign social research student on the dangers of voting for self-interest, and what the ALP will get to work on.