September 09, 2006

Live blogging from the tally room

[Mark Bahnisch writes:] Graham and I are set up in the tally room to live blog the election. So far there's not a lot to actually report as figures are very early. If you look at the ABC's scorecard, the Nats are getting a 14% swing in their favour. Nats supporters shouldn't get too excited by that as all it means is that the only figures we've got so far are from small country booths.

It's an interesting atmosphere here at the Convention centre. Pollies, former pollies, and journos mixing and gossiping, in the absence of any real take on what's happening. Lawrence Springborg popped in at about 20 past six, and former National Party Premier Russell Cooper arrived soon after. Barnaby's running around giving interviews, but interest in the views of his senior colleague seem less sought after. Anyway, welcome to a night of election live blogging, fuelled at least on my part by generous amounts of caffeine...

7.03pm - The Poll Bludger is also live blogging the tally here.

7.12pm - The story so far is that there's no story. Looking around at the seats we suggested that people should watch, it's hard to see any significant movement on the early figures. Bundaberg is looking good for Labor, though perhaps the strength of the dissident ALP candidate will need watching. You certainly wouldn't want to make any predictions about much of a statewide swing any way at this stage. Basically, at this point, our feeling that there won't be too much movement in the vote from 2004 looks like being born out. But it's early days yet.

7.20pm. The Libs are performing very poorly in Brisbane. One key to the large Green vote in some electorates (for instance Catalbiano's seat of Chatsworth where he's looking in deep trouble) might be the predicted protest vote against the Opposition - Liberal or undecided voters marking their ballot papers 1 Green and not allocating preferences at all.

A bit of tally room colour - Dave from Big Brother - the gay aspiring Nationals candidate is in the room - obviously the Nats have given him a pass. Discredited health minister Gordon Nuttall, with his trademark red rose in his lapel, is rivalling his leader Premier Pete as a media tart.

7.54pm. National Deputy Leader Jeff Seeney keeps being asked if Springborg will leave politics. The story is still little movement in the vote and few seats changing hands. Labor doesn't look flash in Clayfield, and Catalbiano is looking better in Chatsworth. Labor has lost in Kawana, but is looking like holding Toowoomba North and Bundaberg. Gaven can definitely be given away as a Labor gain from the Nats - perhaps the Libs had a point about this seat being handed to the Nats in the by-election.

7.58pm. We're hearing that Catalbiano has conceded in Chatsworth, though the latest electoral commission figures show him in with a show still, and Labor scrutineers have been pessimistic. The Quinn dumping looks to have led to a big backlash in Robina, with the Lib candidate Stevens behind.

8.00pm. I've just heard that Beattie will claim victory at 8.15pm or shortly afterwards.

8.02pm. Springborg is conceding defeat - he has just rung Beattie. He looks like he was expecting to have to make this speech, doesn't seem surprised.

8.03pm. He shouldn't be thanking Flegg!

8.04pm. Springborg is quite right to say that Beattie has a strong mandate, and also that Queenslanders weren't enthusiastic about voting for Beattie. But he's spot on as well to say that the Opposition didn't do enough to convince voters Beattie was losing to go with them.

8.06pm. A graceful concession speech.

8.07pm. Springborg says he intends to recontest the leadership. His performance over the campaign has been pretty solid, and the alternatives in the Nats are very uninspiring. It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, Flegg has to say. The Nats would have every right to be angry with the Libs - though it doesn't appear that they've done too well in the seats they targetted either.

8.26pm. Beattie is claiming victory.

8.27pm. The Labor campaign team believe they have won 56 seats, with 4 in doubt. Likely Labor seats - probably around 58. Cleveland was the surprise - it looks like the polling leak was accurate there. Bundaberg is being given away by Labor, Hervey Bay, Cleveland and Clayfield in doubt. Kawana's gone. Labor has won back its three by-election losses over the term. As I predicted, the outcome is basically going to be status quo 2004.

8.30pm. Beattie does sound like he will hang around. The big danger for Labor is that it takes the wrong message from this result, and that complacency sets in as it did in the third term. The best outcome in the longer term might be a transition to Bligh this term. Beattie is sounding the right notes, but there'll be little tolerance from the electorate if he doesn't take full advantage of the "one last chance" he's correct to say the electorate have given him.

8.33pm. Beattie is also 100% correct that the Libs would have done better with Quinn as leader. The proof of that is the huge collapse in the Lib vote in Brisbane and parts of the Gold Coast, and Labor looking set to be at least competitive in Robina.

8.34pm. Beattie is also right - as we've been suggesting from our polling, Howard should be well aware that WorkChoices did play a factor in the backlash against the Libs, as well as the protest vote against them for being such a hopeless opposition.

8.49pm. Flegg will be coming out in about two minutes.

8.50pm. Labor figures are describing the Robina result as effectively being a by-election after Quinn's knifing. Labor is also reasonably confident of holding Hervey Bay, less so in Clayfield.

8.51pm. Flegg's here.

8.52pm. Of course Flegg didn't campaign alongside Springborg literally the whole time. It is to Springborg's credit that he did come back to Brisbane and SEQ in the last week rather than staying in the bush to defend Nat seats.

8.53pm. Flegg's also speaking quite well - perhaps he could have grown into the role had he not been thrown into a campaign a week after taking over as leader. Surely the calling of the election by Beattie was the masterstroke which set up this result.

8.55pm. He's right about the need for Coalition unity. But it's hard to see the patched up unity that characterised the campaign holding while the knives come out both within the Libs and between the Nats and Libs.

8.57pm. Just as an aside, long time Queensland politics watchers would have enjoyed the strange sight of BB Dave deep in conversation with former Minister Vince Lester.

9.03pm. A Labor campaign strategist said to me before that the Labor people here would have to clap Flegg when he completed his appearance - there are very very few Liberal figures in the tally room. People can draw whatever conclusions from that they wish to. But in the end, Flegg got only minimal applause from those of us at the press table. A sad end to the campaign for him.

9.09pm. I wonder why Stephen Loosley is up here in the tally room - at the moment deep in conversation with C-M journo Denis Atkins, whose campaign commentary was consistenty the closet to what was actually going on of any op/edder in the MSM.

9.38pm. It's been all over here in the tally room for a while. Most of the pollies and campaign types have moved off to victory or defeat parties. But a while back I walked past the area screened off for the Liberal Party and it was interesting that they had almost all gone (the sole survivors being Senator George Brandis and a few young blonde things) with a large amount of rather spiffy looking alcohol left on the table undrunk.

Graham and I have just done an interview with Election Tracker which is a site supported by the electoral commission to engage young people in politics - through Vibewire.

I just had a chat to a few more Labor strategists I know and we agreed that the interesting thing to watch and analyse will be the composition of the Green vote in Brisbane and also the changing demographics driven by intensive apartment development in some inner city Labor seats. In Anna Bligh's electorate of South Brisbane, for instance, the Greens have almost outpolled the Libs. But there are also some traditional inner city Labor booths which have now changed to Liberal in federal elections. But I'll have a look at this next week.

9.44pm. There's a journo standing behind me recording a blurb for radio - "by 9 30 the tally room was all but empty as the politicians headed to their after parties to commiserate or celebrate" - and that's my cue to sign off as well and go off and have a celebratory drink myself as I step out of commentator mode and into citizen mode.

Posted by Graham at September 9, 2006 07:00 PM

A very interesting Monday afternoon read. Wish I'd been keeping an eye on it on Saturday night! Well done.

Posted by: Spencer Howson at September 11, 2006 03:36 PM

Big story about to come through.

Robina gone for the Libs.

The Quinn effect.

Posted by: Antonio at September 9, 2006 07:59 PM

Fuuuuccccckkkkkkkk,Fuuuuuucccckkkkkk,My crow is going troppo Fuucccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkk.

Posted by: Phill at September 9, 2006 07:41 PM

Looks like Bjeke-Peterson won't be able to snare Nanango for the Nats this time. With Pratt's truly bizarre antics during the campaign, this must be a disappointing result for the local Nats there.

Posted by: Antonio at September 9, 2006 07:34 PM

Any sense of the mood there at the moment?

Posted by: B.S. Fairman at September 9, 2006 07:22 PM

Nice to see some bloggers getting a press pass.

Posted by: Robert at September 9, 2006 07:12 PM
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Graham Young
John Black
Mark Bahnisch
Michael Lee