Mungo MacCallum: Punch and Ludy

‘Awful beyond parody’

Joel Deane


Punch and Judy: The Double Disillusion Election of 2010
by Mungo MacCallum
Black Inc., $22.95 pb, 246 pp, 9781863955119


The 2010 federal election fell on my wife’s birthday: 21 August. Being political tragics, we didn’t stop for birthday cake. Instead, we handed out roughly 1600 how-to-vote cards for the Australian Labor Party in suburban Melbourne. Our local polling booth is the Vista Valley Kindergarten, in Bulleen. This kindergarten cum polling booth, which sits in more of a gully than a valley and offers no vistas, is located in the north-eastern corner of the electorate of Menzies, held by ultraconservative Liberal frontbencher Kevin Andrews. The battle for Vista Valley mirrored the national poll. In the Vista Valley count, the ALP’s primary vote collapsed, the Greens’ soared, more people voted informal than backed Family First, yet, thanks to the preferences of Greens voters, Labor fell across the line by four votes.

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Joel Deane

Joel Deane

Joel Deane is a speechwriter, novelist, and poet. He has worked in Australia and the United States as a journalist and political staffer – covering the 2000 Democratic National Convention, serving as principal speechwriter to Labor Premiers Steve Bracks and John Brumby, and lecturing widely on politics and public language. In 2009, he was a finalist for the Melbourne Prize for Literature Best Writing Award. His new non-fiction book, Catch and Kill: The Politics of Power, will be published by the University of Queensland Press in July 2015.

Published in November 2010 no. 326

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