The Divinyls’ song Pleasure and Pain would have been the perfect anthem for Labor’s South West Coast candidate Roy Reekie on Saturday night.
As the ballots were counted, it fast became clear that while his team had won the war, Mr Reekie had lost his battle.
He was teetering on both sides of that line Chrissy Amphlett had so famously warbled about.
“It feels like I’m the saddest man in the happiest room,” Mr Reekie reflected during his election night function at the Hotel Warrnambool.
There was an increasing air of jubilation among Labor supporters as the seats began to fall in the red.
The tide had turned, their party was returning to power after four years in the wilderness of opposition.
But on the other hand their local man, Mr Reekie, wasn’t successful in his fourth quest to be elected the region’s representative.
Early counts were showing the now former premier, Denis Napthine, would be returned locally with an increased margin.
It was the only dampener on what was essentially a celebration and Mr Reekie remained upbeat telling his supporters there were two elections happening.
“There’s the election being counted tonight, and the election that will be counted next week,” he said.
Yesterday he was confident that the prepoll and postal votes that are due to be counted from today and make up almost 45 per cent of the total votes cast, would favour him.
“I’m feeling good. It is clear Denis has been re-elected and I congratulate him on that.”
Mr Reekie said it was also obvious that Greens candidate Thomas Campbell had significantly increased his party’s votes in the district.
“There’s been a statewide swing towards the Greens and Thomas has added to that with a strong personal vote.”
Mr Reekie had an eventful election day after being forced to change his shirt halfway through campaigning outside polling booths in Warrnambool.
He was supporting his third fund-raising barbecue of the day when he had a “sausage atrocity” and tomato sauce dripped down his front.
“It looked like I’d been shot,” Mr Reekie laughed.
He donned a new shirt and carried on but, in the hive of campaigning activity, almost forgot to vote. Luckily he remembered about an hour before the polls closed.
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