In the meantime:

• The Australian reports the dunce of the Senate, Steve Fielding, is contemplating adding constitutional vandal to the extensive list of black marks against his name. Fielding polled all of 2.7 per cent of the vote in Victoria on Saturday, yet remains a serious prospect to retain his Senate seat thanks to a disastrous electoral system that Labor has been determined not to reform.

• Today’s Sydney Morning Herald editorial offers some fascinating speculation about Tony Abbott’s tactics in the past few days. The paper’s national editor, Mark Davis, detects a high-stakes game with the objective of final victory at a fresh election. It is evident he will be backed to the hilt in this endeavour by The Australian, which has jacked up the hysteria today by (among other things) running a lead news story that describes former Office of National Assessments intelligence analyst Andrew Wilkie as a “radical”.

• On Wednesday, the News Limited tabloids published a Galaxy poll of 600 voters in the rural independents’ electorates of Kennedy, New England and Lyne, which predictably showed a 52 per cent supporting a Coalition government against 36 per cent for Labor. Respondents were evenly split as to whether they wanted a fresh election. Some national polling at the moment would be uncommonly interesting.

• There has been talk of a legal challenge, or at least the possibility of one, against the election of Coalition candidates Russell Matheson in Macarthur and Natasha Griggs in Solomon, on the basis that their position as councillors runs foul of the archaic constitutional requirement that candidates not enjoy “office for profit under the Crown”. Constitutional expert George Williams has been quoted saying such a challenge would have a “one-in-four chance of winning”. Labor successfully engineered a re-match in Lindsay in similar circumstances after the 1996 election, only to have the voters respond to their sore-loser act by delivering a further 5 per cent swing to the successful Liberal candidate, Jackie Kelly.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the Brisbane late counting thread, which has dropped off the front page. I’ll come up with a more enduring solution to this issue later today.

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