The wash-up is likely to see plenty of buck passing on the Liberal / National coalition side of the fence as well as myriad recriminations, but the Libs and Nats are not the only party to be decimated in the 2007 Election. The Democrats, the party that is supposed to be keeping the 'bastards honest' lost the two senators that were on the ballot. And now they have none!
This leaves the Bob Brown Greens as the balance of power in the Senate, at least after July 2008. However, there is still a family first senator who would appear to be more ideologically aligned with the Libs/Nats. There is also Nick Xenophon, no political novice who got himself elected to the South Australian Parliament on a 'No Pokies' ticket. Yet, this is a step up in the political spectrum and he is likely to be able to wield some swing if he holds a swinging vote.
It is with interest that I read the recriminations have already started, and this is to be expected, but I was equally surprised that John Howard in his concession speech acknowledged and accepted responsibility for the Libs failure. It was very manly of him but when you lose more than 20 seats including your own there are not a whole lot of options on the plate! Even more interesting was the anointing of Peter Costello as the obvious future of the Liberal Party. Considering, the former PM's reluctance to hand over the reins of power this could be construed as recognizing the inevitable.
Yet, by holding onto power John Howard may have in fact done Costello a favor in the sense that the Libs/Nats after 11+ years in government were destined for a fall and as this election showed, spectacularly so. This has saved Costello from being viewed as damaged goods. There has really only been one true Lazarus of Australian politics and he is now readying his departure from political life.
But equally spectacularly as the crushing loss the anointed opposition leader has announced that he is going to quit the parliament for a life in business sometime during the next term. In a very LBJ way he has stated unequivocally that he will not seek nor will he accept the nomination of his party for the leadership of the Coalition. This serves to open-up the leadership race and at the same time it highlights the disarray that the Coalition is in as it prepares to enter opposition. The prospect of a bruising Liberal leadership battle undoubtedly has the newly elected Labor government salivating at the opportunity to inflict further pain on the severely wounded Coalition ranks.
Well, the Labor party made many a promise to the electorate about how it was going to conduct the business of government going forward and for the last 24 hours there has been nothing much said except for 'we are ready to hit the ground running'.
So, as Big John McCarthy of UFC fame was renowned for saying, "let's get it on!"