Nominations for the Labor leadership have closed. Sorry if you missed the deadline. Why does it always seem like you hear about these things too late? The challenge for the ALP over the past few weeks has been keeping Kevin Rudd distracted long enough so the deadline would slip by without him noticing. The parliamentary Party all chipped in and sent Kev a Game of Thrones box set and a link to download every House of Cards episode. They had The Sopranos ready to go in case Kevin smashed through them too quickly, but thankfully he re-watched House of Cards several times to take notes. The Labor Party leadership ballot will be the first under the new rules that give equal weight to the votes of the parliamentary Party and the rank and file members. For those unfamiliar with the new system, I'll walk you through the rules and how the voting will be conducted.
Party members' votes are cast by postal ballot and will be counted before MPs and Senators vote. But the result will not be announced until after the parliamentary Labor Party have voted at the Grand Voting Ceremony.
The Grand Voting Ceremony is the most important aspect of the ballot process and is conducted according to guidelines that honour ALP leadership contests past and present.
The first rule of the Grand Voting Ceremony, or GVC, is that MPs and Senators must only refer to each other by nicknames. If a member does not have a nickname, one shall be assigned to them by the Labor Nickname Consultative Committee.
To commence proceedings, former Prime Minister Paul Keating delivers the Paul Keating Oration. This goes for about a month and is already underway. It is hoped that Paul will wrap-up just before voting.
Next, Fitz-Gibbo says something frank, but quizzical to the media. This is designed to give ABC24 something to talk about as the Party files into the GVC hall.
After the prospective leaders' speeches, where they declare how wonderful they find their opponent, a special ritual takes places known as 'the looming'. This is a terrific piece of theatre where Kevin Rudd casts a fog across the crowd and appears and disappears around the room, cackling things like, "fools!" and "mu-ha-haha", much like the Phatom of the Opera.
Once Kevin has settled, the latest book by a former ALP member slagging out the Party is admitted into the Labor canon. The Labor canon is a physical cannon that fires the book's charred pages over those assembled so it rains down like confetti.
As the last scrap of paper hits the floor, punch cards are handed out. This is for anyone who publicly supported one candidate, but has changed their mind. The member thrusts the card into a machine in front of their newly favoured contender indicating they're starting an allegiance shift.
Ballot papers are handed out and votes are cast by placing the paper in a construction helmet labelled with their pick's name.
All stare at a screen chanting an anticipatory "woooh", like a crowd awaiting a third umpire decision. The screen declares the winner of the Caucus vote and the new leader switches off Kevin Rudd's fog machine.
The defeated candidate puts on the hardhat that held their votes, illuminates the lamp on top and commences under-mining.
No media is allowed at the Grand Voting Ceremony, but the event is live tweeted by everyone in attendance.