Finally, election day has arrived. Will selfproclaimed underdog Anna Bligh defy the polls and lead Labor to a sixth consecutive victory? Will the LNP’s Campbell Newman make history by winning the premiership from outside parliament? Or will Queensland elect an LNP government without Campbell Newman?
If nothing else excites you about election night, that question of whether or not Campbell Newman wins Ashgrove should give you something to cheer for, whichever side of politics you support. A ReachTEL phone poll conducted on 5 March gave the key seat to the ALP’s Kate Jones, 50.7 per cent to 49.3 per cent, two-party-preferred. It doesn’t get much closer than that.
For me, election night is a psephological football final. My wife Nikki is working on Channel Nine’s coverage, so she won’t be home until late. Our 11-year-old son Jack will happily spend the night reading or playing computer games, perhaps sticking his head in for the concession and victory speeches. That leaves me to set up my very own tally room! I’ll have a couple of TVs on the go, one with a split-screen showing two channels at once. Hats off to 31 Digital, which is mounting election night coverage for the first time. Next to me on the couch will be a radio with pre-set station buttons for easy flicking between ABC, 4BC and Switch 1197 (the youth community station is broadcasting live from the tally room for a fourth consecutive election).
Then there’s Twitter on my lap and a bottle of wine on the floor to my right! I know I’m not alone with my election night obsession.
Librarian Fiona Winston- Brown also sets herself up for the night: “I swoon over the ABC’s election analyst Antony Green whilst hurling abuse at the TV if the wrong mob gets in! Hubby floats around in the background and joins me for the call of our electorate but otherwise it’s a solo event accompanied by cheese and biscuits washed down with a bottle from my collection.”
High school drama teacher Matthew Kopelke says “I always try to mix social media with ABC coverage. Nothing but Kerry O’Brien and Antony Green for me!” Director of the Anywhere Theatre Festival, Paul Osuch, says “we always do a reading of ‘Don’s Party’. How far we get depends on many factors…”
Human Resources manager Simon Francis says he’s starting a tradition “inviting over like-minded political nerds and having drinks and nibbles while yelling at the TV”. I suspect “like-minded” is the key to a successful election night party!
Nicholas and Natalie Perkins spent the last state election night watching events unfold in the tally room at the Convention Centre. Nicholas says it was “great to watch as the pollies come in and get interviewed and so forth”. Theatre reviewer Doug Kennedy says the tally room experience is over-rated: “Went once. Theatre of the absurd. All I saw were journos. It’s better on TV!” Amanda Dell is one of those journalists. For Amanda, the tally room is the only place to be on election night, for “the whiff of victory and the stink of defeat”.
Of course, not everyone will be glued to the minute-by-minute results. Content to find out later is film critic Matthew Toomey who says “it’s my tradition to see a movie on election night.” Then he adds “that’s my tradition every night actually!”
QPAC has no fewer than four options for you on election night – The Australian Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet, British comedian Ross Noble, Christen O’Leary in Bombshells and Harry Potter star Miriam Margoyles in Dickens’ Women! And US husband-and-wife country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are playing at the Entertainment Centre.
Margaret Bell will be in charge of Front of House at Centenary Theatre Company’s closing night performance of Wrong Turn at Lungfish (by Laverne & Shirley writers Garry Marshall and Lowell Ganz). Margaret concedes: “I may check results on social media between sips of champagne!”
For Aussie Rules fans like Paul Smeaton, Saturday 24 March means the opening match of the AFL season between the Sydney Swans and debutantes Greater Western Sydney. That said, Paul still plans to flick between the footy and ABC TV. He says “the question is – will the GWS rookies out-perform the CanDo rookie?!” All I can say is this – may your team win!