Election Night Feast – Canberra style

Well, the weekend has not gone as planned. For the overseas readers who may or may not have picked up any news of Australian politics, we’re looking at a result too close to call yet, 24 hours on, but one which looks almost certainly like Australia is moving to the right.

Obviously, for Sean and I and most of our friends and family, this is a disappointing (note: understatement) turn of events.

But rather than focus on the sheer misery of this, let me tell you how we spent Election night.

In Canberra, where all things political colour so much of our lives, it’s pretty common for people to hold election night parties. Sure, this is a concept scorned by much of the country which likes to see Canberra and all its residents as elitist or living in some kind of bubble of unreality, but you know, most of us work in Government and the decisions affect our daily working lives considerably. I really don’t see how a night spent eating and drinking with friends and keeping an eye on the tally room and commentary, watching the numbers, is any more odd than standing around watching a sporting grand final with your friends. It’s the same kind of atmosphere, just involving a lot less exertion and aggression on the screen. Or maybe just the same amount after all!

I’m sure there are election parties where earnest political discussion is the order of the night and sure, there was a fair amount of it at our party, as you would expect, but it’s just a group of like-minded friends drinking and eating and having a great time in the cold Canberra night air. Did I mention the eating? No? Oh how we ate.

If you’re vegetarian, you might want to look away. We roasted a pig.

pig on a spit
Our hosts had the idea some weeks ago to make a big feast of a pig on a spit on the night and with some considerable effort they pulled it off, putting party goers to work turning the home made spit with a crank for hours and hours and hours. I only had one go. I did mean to have more but somehow the afternoon got away from me. Oh yes I know how, I made a little friend. She’s four and lovely  and we had a ball. But there wasn’t much time for spit turning.

Before nightfall, we dined gloriously on roasted pig and assorted delights provided by everyone else and drank a lot of beer and wine and watch the night unfold, unhappily. These things are only made bearable in the end by the company and the feasting.

The day after is quiet. Heads are sore (others more than mine, I’m happy to say!) and we’ve wondered how it all went wrong. If, as I hoped in my last post, Alice is applauding today, it won’t be because of the direction of Australian politics. Oh no, not one bit.

Bells

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15 thoughts on “Election Night Feast – Canberra style

  1. nice looking pig! schmacko!

    Interesting reads here. If the left is so the party we should be voting for why aren’t the people voting for them? As both parties race to the right and embrace the Thatcher version of neo-liberalism why are the people so dumb so as not to embrace it. I read that the informal vote if one of the highest ever. I worked at a polling booth on the day for a couple of hours and one of the party helpers giving out pamphlets asked all prospective voters “if they wanted to vote for Julia Gillard” rather than “if they wanted to vote for the ALP”. I think the disenchantment of the personality voters of the last election has cost. The major parties set the agenda and then race to the bottom to get there. For some to believe that one ideology is the correct one irrespective of policy to blind stupidity. The ALP has abandon working class people get used to it. They were formed on racists policies and that factual. they want to work on polls and cult of personality, live with it if you accept it , if you don’t want to create an alternative.

  2. I don’t think election night parties are strange at all. They happen all the time over here but then I think that sometimes we’ll adopt any reason for a party.

    Sorry about the movement to the right. I remember well the 8 years we spent under George W. Having a President that seems more compassionate is certainly desirable.

  3. The spit-roasted pig makes my mouth water! And playing with a four-year-old seems like the idea way to handle a political party. Good on you!

  4. Strange days indeed. Not surprising though, given the campaign both major parties ran. To me, there isn’t much ‘left’ left in labor anyway, as much as I like Julia. politics as sport, that would be interesting!

  5. I have been following the campaign via National Public Radio here in the states. I think I understand how your system works. I do know that with no majority some one (party) may have to sell their soul to form a new government. Sometimes folks are disappointed with what they wish (vote) for.

  6. I’m married to a political science major. Election night is like our own little party.

    I’ll be honest: I don’t understand the concept of “calling” an election. I gather that’s how Canada works, too. I can see the bonus of how it limits campaigning (which has the added bonus of giving politicians more time to focus on doing their job, rather than campaigning to keep it), but it seems so arbitrary and random.

    I cannot say I’m liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. I’m Independent, and put a lot of thought into individual candidates rather than parties. But if I’m understanding correctly, you have to vote for the party in order to get the PM you want? So if you like the PM from X party but a local rep from Y party, you can’t have both? (Just trying to understand!!)

  7. The pig looks amazing – my husband will be jealous. Our election night parties end up being in the dead of winter – and I can relate – as we’re in a politically active part of the US and we had our share of unhappy GWBush outcomes – but the friends and food and wine and beer do help when things don’t go our way….yes, they do!

    Hope Shiraz is soothing on your frayed nerves…. 🙂

  8. Check out that pig! Wow! I’m glad you had at least some fun come out of the night. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the rest… off to check the internets now to see if there has been a final decision yet!

  9. For the first time in my memory, Australian politics made the top of the hour news report last night on U.S. National Public Radio! It was so fun to hear the news and think of you. But I do understand your disappointment; you may remember we had a foggy result the first time George W. Bush was elected. I hope your result is better than ours was!

    In the U.S., people all over the country have election-night parties. Same goes for state and local elections.

    People in the U.S. have the same reaction to those who live in capitals, whether it’s Washington, D.C., or the state capital — like Madison,Wis., where I live. In the states, I do think those of us who lives in capital cities are lucky — economic downturns are definitely felt less thanks to the stability of government jobs.

    Although, this is not true for teachers in this recession. For the first time ever, tens of thousands of public school teachers are being laid off! I just hope I have enough seniority to be safe!

  10. Mmmm, there is nothing quite like roast pig on a spit! Yumbo. At least something good came out of the night hey.
    Well, hopefully something good will still come out of it. I can’t begin to imagine the next few years otherwise.

  11. The power of the internet! When I heard the results, sitting here in Oklahoma, I thought of you. Hope the closeness pans out for the left win.

  12. Well Bells at least the pig looks good. What a wonderful way to spend an election night, with good friends, good food and good drink. I guess there are a few of us feeling a bit down by it all, and worrying about the future not only for ourselves but for the younger generations. I feel a bit down as I hope it will not affect my sons and their families too much if Liberal do declare a victory. I guess we are all scared about workchoices rearing its ugly head again, let along not enough money for schools, hospitals etc. I can’ believe that so many Labor voters went and voted for other sides and have really stuffed it for the rest of us.

  13. Yes, the whole ‘step to the right’ is very disappointing. Our island kept her end up, so to speak!!
    Oh what a delicious looking pig and I a glad you found a new friend!!

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