Well, that’s it, then. The poll has been declared in Bennelong, and John Howard showed up to concede defeat and congratulate the new member for Bennelong, Maxine McKew. Some are seeking solace in small mercies:
Mr Howard could draw satisfaction that he drew more primary votes than any challenger.
But after the distribution of preferences, compulsory for a valid vote in the Australian system, his small lead was not enough and Labor Maxine McKew was victorious by 2434 votes.
I don’t know what that’s all about, unless some journos think that a first past the post system might be in order (note to said journos – if you wanted to see a Ruddslide, that would have delivered one…) I’m not going to attempt to write some sort of balanced account of John Howard’s career, and I don’t see the need to acknowledge any positives in his contribution to public life, except to say that he appeared gracious in defeat when conceding to McKew. We’re all too close to the thankfully now ended Howard years to make any sort of objective assessment in my view – though no doubt if I scratched my head I could think of some good the man did, I’m basically so very far from not being sorry that he’s gone. But here’s an open thread should anyone feel the need to reflect on what I think can now be formally declared as… the end of the Howard era!