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October 12, 2007

A Message to those Overseas

Well, this is going to sound like an ALP advert, or an AEC public notice, but so be it.

The Federal election is upon us. It may be called today. Or tomorrow. Or Sunday. My money's on Sunday, when an announcement will receive the most attention. Over a weekend, people have better things to think about than politics, and the Sunday news bulletin is likely to attract the largest audience. If the election isn't called, Parliament resumes on Monday, and Rudd has already begun spinning the cost of resumption. Howard may fear this gaining traction, but regardless it would seem that the punters are getting tired of the Long Campaign. So any day now.

When called, a minimum 33-day campaign ensues, but a longer campaign is constitutional and would suit Howard. This makes a late November/very early December election date likely. So--are you registered? Voting from overseas is not compulsory, but you should have contacted the AEC before you left. Seeing as no human being ever contacts the AEC before they fly, you can confirm your enrolment at the AEC's Online Enrolment Verification Facility. From there you can also determine your electorate by entering your postcode.

Most of you will be enrolled in safe Labor seats, such as Perth. But let's assume you aren't. Let's assume you're enrolled in a key marginal seat, and the votes are such that Australia turns to the West late on election night for confirmation of our country's leader (the time difference means that if the election isn't the predicted landslide, eyes will expectantly turn to the traditionally conservative West later in the evening). Let me pique you further. The 4 key marginals in the West are Cowan, Swan, Stirling, and Hasluck. Here are the splits:

Cowan: ALP-held 0.8%
Hasluck: Lib-held 1.8%
Swan: ALP-held 0.1%
Stirling: Lib-held 2.0%

Swan 0.1%! how's that for running out the cheerleaders before the game to get the blood racing? The member for Swan, Kim Wilkie, defeated his Liberal opponent in the last Federal election 34,714 votes to 34,610 on two-party preferred. The Liberal candidate won on first preferences. Who knows what hair-raising, wafer-thin electoral splits might occur in your electorate? Jump online, and determine your electorate's dynamics if you haven't been ex-communicated already. Also, if you wanted to spread the good-word, a classy Kevin 07 t-shirt can be purchased for $7 here and may make a good conversation starter in your local pub, whether it's in London or Lisbon, Seoul or Tokyo. Plus, he really does look like Tintin.

Lastly, for those of you who spent the last election night on my porch, glued numbly to Kerry and the train-crash numbers, well, you'd remember also the heartbreak and general breakdown of manners, which made the porch look more like the island from Lord of the Flies. There was secession, Paddy smashed bottles on the road, and Jess passed out in the bath. And yes--I've omitted the more serious transgressions. But this year looks good, people. This year it can be done. Get your votes in and cheer from the sidelines.

Posted by Martin McKenzie-Murray at October 12, 2007 3:15 PM