Keeping Score

It’s after midnight and I’m having a glass of wine to try and wind down a bit after a very busy day’s work in the Tally Room for the NSW Election. Although I guess everyone knew the overall result several weeks ago, confirmed with this week’s opinion polls, there were some interesting competitions to observe, including Goulburn, Murray-Darling, Tweed, Pittwater and Manly.

A far bigger surprise occurred earlier today when I went to vote at my nearby Bourke Street Primary School. Joining the fairly lengthy queue which extended outside the door, I suddenly found myself whisked to the front of the queue and able to vote within seconds. The issue, you see, is that as a registered voter in “Sydney” I was a bit of a rarity. In a queue of maybe 50 people, almost all were registered in other seats.

I was glad I was able to go to the front of the queue, because I was just about to knock a bloke on the head (no, not really), who was standing behind me who was telling his girlfriend how to vote. “Now, you need to vote for Clover on the small paper, and for the Liberals on the large paper”. I don’t care about his choices, it’s just that he was telling his girlfriend how she should vote. Is this 2007 or 1907, I wondered for a moment.

Although I normally vote by putting in every number ticket for the Upper House (I’ll direct my preferences, thankyou!) I was a little lazy this time, just putting a #1 for my first choice and letting them do all the hard work.

What also surprised me today was the presence on the Upper House ballot of groups like Unity & Australians Against Further Immigration. I hadn’t realised both parties were running again.

When I arrived at the Tally Room this afternoon I also noticed they had been allocated seating places for the night, though I don’t recall if they were actually next to each other. It would have demonstrated a wonderfully wicked sense of humour by the State Electoral Office had that occurred.

Surprisingly it was a reasonably long night, although the overall result was clear quite early. At the last NSW election, I recall, the Leader’s Speeches were at about 8.45 and 9.05pm, while this time they were roughly an hour later. We were all quite relieved when at last they occured, as it had been a long day.

This wasn’t the only competition I’ve been to this week, though.

On Thursday night I caught up with my mate Paul after work for a couple of beers. It had been a long day and I was feeling a little thirsty. I also hadn’t seen Paul for a couple of weeks, so what better way to combine the two than to meet for an afternoon beer at the Newtown Hotel.

After a couple of beers and a meal at the nearby vegetarian restaurant he asked if I wanted to stay for the Amateur Unisex Stripper Night. Sure, why not? Little did I know we would be soon watching a 60 year old female stripper who showed more than many of the gay boys in the audience felt comfortable with. Little did I know we would soon be seeing a former member of Manpower (or so he claimed) who would also make many of the gay boys in the audience feel uncomfortable. “I’m turning straight”, I overheard one say, when the Manpower bloke did his stuff.

But so fascinating was the night that I’m probably going to go again next Thursday for the Grand Final. And unlike tonight’s competition, it will be good to see a competition that I don’t already know the results for.

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