Welcome to the bout to knock the others out. This is the 2015 NSW Election.
From my position here in the "Joseph Cahill House of Horrors" I've seen two very different campaigns.
Team Liberal with their leader Mike "The Brawler" Baird, has certainly been trying to push the message that Luke "Babyface" Foley is too into inexperienced to run the state, whilst running a second standard message of hospitals, schools, roads and 'get tough on crime'.
Labor have mainly tried to run a big scare campaign by talking about electricity prices once the state's electricity networks are privatised, should Mike Baird retain the top job. Luke Foley has been markedly absent and that's mainly because nobody knows who he is.
It's Incompetence versus Cruelty. It's Inexperience versus Theft. When the people decide the lesser of two evils, it's important to remember that they've still chosen an evil and that's what Election 2015 is all about.
Unlike other elections in the recent past, this one wasn't just about a generational changing of the guard. The 2010 Election broke the previous streak of 11 years of Labor and this was during a national trend of flipping the state parliaments from red to blue. At one point during the previous national election cycle, the Liberal with the highest job was Campbell Newman who was Lord Mayor of Brisbane, when all six states, the two territories and the federal government were all held by Labor. 2010 came after the GFC but before the hung federal parliament. 2015 comes after the 2013 federal flip and after a couple of budgets where federal Liberal has deeply irritated the electorate.
Even despite Liberal's unpopularity at federal level and even though PM Tony Abbott seems intent on deliberately making gaffes and thoroughly ticking off as many people as is humanly possible, Mike Baird remains as a reasonably popular Premier but is trying to sell a privatisation scheme which is deeply unpopular. It seems that even after Liberal MPs were found by ICAC to have been corrupt, and with former Premier Barry O'Farrell resigning over what appeared to be unexplained gifts, the electorate has either forgiven or is too stupid to remember the carry on and fuss over the last five years.
On the other side of the chamber, John Robertson resigned as Opposition Leader after it came to pass that his signature had appeared on procedural documents relating to the gunman who shot apart the Lindt Cafe. John Robertson will more than likely retain his seat of Blacktown but that out an end of his aspirations to lead the party to the election, just four months out from judgement day. The problem for state Labor was that they had so few members as a result of the 2010 election that they couldn't fill a fridge and so Luke Foley won the post when music stopped in the game of musical chairs. As Opposition Leader he always looks completely stunned, as though he is a mule with a spinning wheel - no one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it.
"Four more years" is the chant coming out of Liberal Party HQ and tonight Mike Baird within ten words of his victory speech used the word "mandate". I find the word "mandate" to be troublesome because parties are elected on a whole raft of policies, which means that you get the bad ones along with the good ones. If it helps, whenever you hear the word "mandate", replace it with the word "unicorn" if that helps.
So when the state wakes up tomorrow morning and realises that it has effectively voted to privatise the electricity networks, just remember that we still might have a government owned electricity network... it'll just be owned by EDF, and the French Government.