The counting currently has the Coalition likely to win one more seat than Labor. And while this doesn’t mean that the independents will support an Abbott government, it does raise the issue of the future direction of the ALP. With likely state level defeats in the near future in NSW and Qld, a loss of government at the federal level means that there may be a ‘call for blood’ by some sections of the party. In particular, will Gillard be blamed for the loss and replaced? And if so, by whom?
I will not speculate on the second question, but on the former, I think it would be a major loss for the ALP and for Australia if a post-election blood bath leads to a change in leadership for the ALP. Gillard was impressive during the election campaign. While there has been a focus on Abbott’s ‘surprising’ success, the campaign was very much about the two individual leaders (hey – there were not many policies to focus on). The campaign showed that the two leaders, despite there differing styles, could relate to the electorate and handle themselves well. Indeed, the campaign was notable for the lack of significant ‘others’ shining in either party. It was the Tony and Julia show. So even if the outcome of the weekend is a coalition government, I for one hope that our first female Prime Minister gets another chance to apply to the electorate for the job in three years time.