The Festival Of The Vote


We’re almost there! After five weeks of the Festival of the Vote, Election Day is almost upon us. The suspense, it’s fair to suppose, is killing no one. The indications are strong that Tony Abbott will lead the next government and after lacklustre campaigning from both major parties, we might as well find out what’s in store for the next three years.

Costings are being released at a frustratingly slow pace — leaving insufficient time for journalists to properly scrutinise whether or not they stack up. Not that this has been a change from the rest of the election: quick grabs, gotcha moments and over-examined gaffes have driven the agenda this year. It might be satisfying to scoff about Tony Abbott’s misdirected kisses and clumsy off-script moments, but the hoopla is a distraction from the real questions about how he will run the country.

At NM, we’ve been running regular analysis from National Affairs Correspondent Ben Eltham and NM economics guru Ian McAuley on the promises made by the major parties, and the distortions on issues such as productivity, climate and taxation.

We’ve also turned our attention to the minor parties throughout the campaign. We asked minor parties across the political spectrum to explain to readers what they stand for and how they’ll be directing their preference allocations. New players like Wikileaks, Senator Online and the Pirate Party had their say alongside stalwarts such as the Socialist Alliance and the DLP and single issue parties such as the Smokers’ Rights Party, the Hemp Party and the Voluntary Euthanasia Party. The series wraps up today with an article by Benno Rice from Below the Line — a website that helps voters make their own 'how to vote' cards to ensure that their preferences go to the right parties. We recommend you take a look at the site before Saturday.

The preference allocations of minor parties are expected to play a big role in deciding who fills the final Senate spots in many states. It’s unlikely that those votes will all be counted by Sunday. Our rolling coverage of the results will extend into early next week.

Keep an eye on the site on Saturday for rolling updates from around the country. NM reporters stationed at polling booths and election events will be filing stories on the carnival. Ben Eltham and other NM contributors will bring you analysis of the results as they are announced, and we'll be sending a special post-election digest on Sunday.

For New Matilda it will be back to business as usual on Monday. The odds are on for an Abbott government. No matter who is in charge, independent voices like those you hear at New Matilda will be vital.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.