October 27, 2004


Historic Senate victory for PM (Tim Colebatch, October 28, 2004, The Age)

In a final twist to a drawn-out vote count, the preferences of 29,043 Fishing Party voters could clinch for the Coalition the most powerful parliamentary position of any federal government in more than two decades.

Electoral officials will flick a switch at 11am to make their computer distribute millions of Queensland Senate preferences. A job that used to take weeks will be over in an hour, almost certainly resulting in a landmark shift of power to the Howard Government.

A late surge of votes for former One Nation leader Pauline Hanson could mean she will fight out the final seat with National Party candidate Barnaby Joyce and the Greens' Drew Hutton.

But if so, the preferences of Fishing Party voters will become the key factor that delivers the Government the final seat. [...]

The Coalition will have 39 of 76 seats in the new chamber, a gain of four. It picked up seats from the Democrats in NSW and Queensland, One Nation in Queensland, and from departing independent Brian Harradine in Tasmania.

Victory in Queensland means it will not have to rely on the vote of Family First's new Victorian senator, Steve Fielding, who had briefly appeared likely to hold the balance of power. His vote would become important only if a disgruntled Government senator defected or crossed the floor.

The Fishing Party? Why does one flash to the outing in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?

Shake, rattled and rolled (Matt Price, October 28, 2004, news.com.au)

FORGET the reams of policy, the months of argument, the gazillions spent on advertising - the October 9 poll result may have been cemented in the split second when Flapper met Grabber on election eve.

Brian Loughnane, the Liberals' mild-mannered federal director, spoke yesterday of the single incident that produced more feedback to party HQ than anything else during the six-week campaign.

It was when Mark Latham emerged from an ABC radio studio to find John Howard waiting to take his place at the microphone. The ensuing handshake - a feisty grabfest with Latham towering over the PM, appearing to draw the smaller man toward him - attracted blanket coverage and commentary.

"I think it was a mistake," Mr Loughnane told the National Press Club. "It was one of those incidents that brought together all the doubts and hesitations that people had about Mark Latham."

Almost three weeks after polling day, Mr Latham is still justifying an encounter which to many projected the type of body language warranting a parental advisory sticker.

Wow, makes global tests and lesbidaughters seem less trivial, huh?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 27, 2004 7:01 PM

Did you see the picture? Latham looked absolutely mental in it. Frighteningly mental. Tim Blair posted it some weeks ago.

Posted by: Melissa at October 27, 2004 7:11 PM

Does the Fishing Party have Live Bait and Artificial Lure subgroups?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 28, 2004 7:35 PM