Election Night at Trades Hall

Cracked stone steps and boozed up unionites greet us at the door of the hallowed egalitarian hall. There are laughs, toothy grins and an unmistakable permeation of excitement rife in the full moon air. Inside, the interior of the Trades Hall is dank, grey and weathered. We sidle up to the burgeoning crowd of pinkos, finding a rare sparse area near the projector screen. I spot a member of the John Howard Ladies Auxiliary. She wears a hat that looks like a sponge cake and gives someone the bird. We couldn't have timed it better, arriving just in time for the mass jubilation. Some minutes prior, the hall exploded with a hefty diatribe of expletive at the sight of the outgoing leader conducting his farewell speech. It was brutal. But now, before everyones gaze it is suddenly official - so sudden it's almost anti-climactic. Rudd has purged the conservative toxicity and Australia's political landscape has been washed clean. Again, the hall erupts, but this time with relief. Two rough head blokes in flannelette clink stubbies and embrace to my left, their eyes dilated with tinnies and joy. A tired, middle aged working wife squeals uncontrollably behind us before covering her mouth with two hands. "Sorry to deafen youse…", she offers. "…Been a while since the footy season ended". The victory tonight is sweeter than any grand final win. We tell her to keep screaming.A sign reading 'Howard's End' sits above the bar upstairs coupled with an image of John Howard's nude arse. Myriad union banners and anti-coalition slogans accompany this unsavoury visual. A local comedian-DJ graces the stage, tapping deep into the growing sentiment with tunes to a spurn a night's worth of convivial times. Heads bang, bop and shake. To the historic moment! A hall of voices bellow the chorus to Pulp's Common People with even ballsier fervour than the Billy Bragg song preceding it. Everyone hugs and unites in celebration. Five hundred people jump to Blue Sky Mine and the second story floor of the trades hall feels like it is about to cave in. It bounces and buckles in the middle and no one is too concerned. This is the party of a generation. It'll be one of those moments: "Where were you when Howard got shafted?". It is uncontrollably cathartic. Emancipation hits as a placard reading 'Sedition in Progress' gets ripped from the wall, bandied and championed mockingly across the ecstatic and sweating dance floor. A DJ comrade leaps on stage with a copy of the next days' paper fresh off the press and as the screams erupt the reality of our time sinks in… "Rudd romps to historic win as PM is humiliated".An image of one grimacing, belittled former Prime Minister delivers the message like a sledgehammer. Champagne saturates shirts and hair. Every person in the room shares a slice of euphoria; with wide, toothy grins they lap up the collective state of elation. Spine tingles rise inside me at the sight of so many people so happy. Things have already begun to change. The joy is phenomenal, the vibe remarkable. A new era begun, and a future shining with potential. Open windows filter cool air into the steaming room – it is the air of change, and I breathe in deep

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