Monday, December 8, 2008

Howard's End: Join the Tallyroom Spectators

The National Tallyroom in Canberra on election night 2007 was a rowdy, raucous place. The crowd were after scalps, none more so than the Prime Minister John Howard's. Every time one of the TV monitors showed the latest counting in the PM's electorate of Bennelong or the ALP candidate Maxine McKew, there was loud cheering and screaming.

The Tallyroom was divided into three sections. The media were roped off at the front near the traditional wall of tally boards for each House of Representative seat. At the other end were most of the national TV panels, perched high above the crowd. The poor cousin SBS were on the side with the other media.

The guest politicians were barely visible from the public area but when shots of Julia Gillard, deputy leader of the opposition, appeared on the screens the revellers erupted. Added to these catalysts were the shenanigans of The Chaser who taunted the likes of Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan, Howard's close friend and head-kicker. In fact ABC anchor Kerry O'Brien blamed them for the crowd noise that disturbed his coverage. The irony was that his own TV monitors were a much greater cause of the jubilation.

The noise level did not abate until John Howard came on to the screens to give his concession speech, having lost government and his own seat. Calm and quiet fell as the crowd watched this seemingly impossible event unfold. 'Tallyroom Spectators' records this silent celebration.

This is final reprise from 'The Poll that Counts' video series to mark the last episode of The Howard Years - Walking On Water

For those who can't bring themselves to watch the ABC program, try this instead. Should bring a smile to your face if you've read this far.

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