Round 15 – Carlton v Collingwood: Dark Blues kept b&w party closer than polls predicted

I usually find myself on election night from 6 p.m. – 7.30 or 8 p.m. in  a polling booth, scrutinising the count. Scrutiny involves observing, with a view to identifying informal ballots, but the role is largely passive. The major task is to record the count, first preference votes, and the two party preferred numbers for this polling place. This single sample usually provides an indicator of the likely outcome in my home seat, and a (less certain) pointer to the whole election.


However, last Saturday night I wagged scrutiny and went to the MCG instead. Pace Peter Baulderstone and the Avenging Eagle in 2015, I am shortly leaving for an overseas holiday, so will have few more opportunities to see the Blues in action, and in any case the longest-standing rivalry in the VFL/AFL is a powerful inducement. In the event, my political team performed rather better than my football side, especially when compared with expectations.


The coincidence of election and Carlton v Collingwood prompted me to attempt a contrived version of my match report.


The black & white party with their distinctive ballot paper logo of a magpie, joined battle with the dark blue party in last Saturday’s crucial contest. In the past, these two traditional parties dominated Victorian politics, but as our Spring Street correspondent, Greg Baum asserted in the Saturday Age, this was distant history. The HFC movement with their logo of the rampant Hawk and the rural based Global Financial Crisis party had become the major forces in the State. A novel intrusion into the Victorian political scene was provided by some external organisations. Prominent among these were the Sydney-based Cheer Cheer party, and a newer Orange group (not to be confused with a religious movement in Northern Ireland). However from other external provinces, challenges were mounted by the Perth bosses party and the Fremantle Workers Organisation, while Adelaide also provided intrusive competitors.


However there was still considerable interest in the struggle between the two traditional parties.


The early count was inconclusive with the Antony Men-in-Green computer offering some bewildering predictions of the likely outcome in some key seats. B & w candidates Pendlebury and Treloar took an early lead in their constituencies, which they seemed sure to maintain. Simpson, a veteran member for the dark blues appeared likely to hold his safe seat.


As the count progressed, the black & whites began to forge ahead, but some surprise successes by the dark blues kept them closer than the polls had predicted. Half-way through the count, it was still unclear who might be called on to govern.


After the ad-break (sponsored by Chemist Warehouse and Hostplus) the b & w surge began. They quickly put the result beyond doubt, and it was clear that Buckley and Pendlebury would lead the new Government. Some late results fell for the DBs to reduce the margin, but it was clear that the b & w party would enjoy a comfortable majority on the floor of the House.


Peter F.

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  1. Rulebook says

    Enjoyable and v clever thanks Peter

  2. Enjoy Europe. Better than the Bluebaggers (or the Eagles) this year. AFL Global Pass is a good deal if u have an IPad and free WIFI is plentiful in Europe. Go well.

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Enjoyed our chat today. Interesting stat I came across. Apart from 1915 (War) every time Carlton have beaten Collingwood in a Grand Final, the Liberals have been in power.
    1938 -Joseph Lyons
    1970 – John Gorton
    1979 and 1981 – Malcolm Fraser
    When we won it in 1910 Andrew Fisher (Labor) held power. Conspiracy??

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Well played Peter, really enjoyed this.
    S.Pendlebury really showed his leadership credentials on Saturday night.

  5. Peter Fuller says

    Malcolm, thanks for the comment. I hope that you and your mate Malinauskas (of the greatest football club the world has ever seen, iirc) ran an effective pre-poll campaign in Hindmarsh; it’s looking uncomfortably tight.

    Peter, we’re actually going to the States and briefly dipping into Canada, Europe will have to wait until next time. Thank you for the tip about Global Pass.

    Philip, right back at you mate, a most enjoyable afternoon, doing my audition to represent the country at the world boring championships. Although I hadn’t realised the quirky coincidence which you’ve identified, I recognise that it’s spot on. I guess given the relative success of the two political behemoths, that the Blues have had something of an advantage. We might have to get our skates on to take advantage of the Turnbull Prime Ministership.
    Thanks very much for your comment and your company this afternoon.

  6. Peter Fuller says

    Thanks Luke for your contribution. I thought that your match reports (including the VFL game) were spot on. Pendlebury was in fine form, he seems to have fully recovered from his earlier season dip in performance, which I suppose was due to injury and some confusion about his role. Your blokes were far too good for us, the defence just closed us down completely. Carlton’s fifth goal came more than two quarters after the fourth. The twelve point margin was grossly unjust to the Maggies, you were.worth a six goal win.

  7. I write this from Budapest where I have just listened to the Hawks/ Port on SEN. This web site keeps me in the loop.

    One thing though Peter. You do not realise that it is the scrutineers, one from each side of politics, that ensure we have a ‘clean’ count. They are the absolute cornerstone of our democracy. The count is done again, at electoral headquarters and once again, two unpaid party volunteers over see proceedings. These people mean we have a democracy.

    A story. I was scrutineering, at a small booth, and the head official was an idiot, having never done the job and making mistake after mistake. It meant it was past 8.00pm and nothing had been counted correctly. The other bloke had to go and catch an overseas flight. His party electoral headquarters were ringing him up but his wife was absolutely livid that he was still hanging around. So I said ‘listen mate you better bugger off’ and I phoned in the results, to his party, when the idiot finally had a count.

  8. John Butler says

    Safe and enjoyable travels Peter. I’m envious.

  9. Peter Fuller says

    I have had similar experiences although not recently, and your point about the significance of scrutineering is well made. I can remember a time when a skilled scrutineer was the source of critical information about preference flows, which has now been obviated by the polling officials’ being obliged to conduct such a count.
    I guess my allusion was particularly to the attitude of some party scrutineers wanting to make a production of contesting ballots. I take the view that such (legitimate) objections are futile serving only to annoy staff after they have spent 13-14 hours on the job. In the rare event where the validity of a small percentage of ballots will influence the outcome, it is inevitable that there will be a recount. I have actually sat in on a number of recounts, including one where the final margin was 87 votes.
    Your reference to Budapest brings back memories for me, of some exciting adventures there a decade ago. It’s a beautiful city.

    Thanks John, I expect that your time will come.

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