Monday, December 3, 2007

Howard's Last Innings: A Golden Pair

Howard's Last Innings: Tallyroom Spectators

John Howard made his concession speech on Saturday night at 10.40 pm, Canberra time. Like his cricketing idol, Don Bradman, Howard made a duck in his last innings. In fact by losing his seat, it's probably a golden pair.

Bennelong 0, Coalition 0.

In the national Tallyroom, he was watched by both friend and foe with a sense of disbelief. Bill Heffernan, his loyal assassin who spent the night sparring with the Chaser. Joe Hockey hoping it was all just another stunt. ACTU President Sharon Burrow, vindicated at last. Penny Wong who was a formidable opponent during the campaign.

The media looked on, in silence for once. Members of the Press Gallery. Shock-jocks like Steve Price, confidante of rock stars. But also the alternative media. Koori and Tamil media broadcasters who were seated beside me. The National Indigenous Times who worked in front of us. Getup and Nick Parkin and Matt Clayfield from Election Tracker who blogged live through the evening.

And of course the public gallery who had clapped and cheered spontaneously from the beginning. Most listened quietly for the most part to the PM. But in an indication of what went wrong for him this year, many of the crowd stopped listening before he finished.

The closing credits of the video show a 1982 Canberra Times front page dating from the Fraser government. The caption reads: "John Howard - set to replace Lynch?" It hangs in the foyer of Rydges Lakeside Hotel in Canberra. Howard entered parliament in 1974 and became Treasurer in 1977. He was the last remaining member of the Liberal Party Room of 1975, which blocked supply forcing the Whitlam government's dismissal. All gone, but not forgotten!

A cliché called closure.

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Original post at: Labor View from Broome