A nervous buzz fills the air as we file into English after recess.
I ask a friend what he thinks, and we enter into a frantic discussion about the hopelessness of the situation.
We’re waiting for 12 o’clock, when the Liberal Party is set to meet and elect Australia’s new Prime Minister.
Not everyone’s as interested as I am, but we do all share a sense of worry and distress that echoes Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s last few days as he has struggled to hold power: “Please not Peter Dutton!”
As I talk to people at recess, there seems to be a common theme of despair in the political environment and system. There’s quite an awareness, in particular this act of mutiny weakens democracy.
In general, people don’t want a spill to happen at all.
“It doesn’t give the voters the rights they need as a democracy,” a friend says.
Someone else pipes in: “Honestly, I think the government should pull together and stick to a leader that Australia votes on, not them”.
But, resigned to the inevitable reality a spill will happen, students are pretty clear on who they do and don’t want.
“Julie Bishop!” someone screams, and a few others echo. “She’s strong-willed” people say, and she’s respected for her work as Foreign Minister.
But there is less support for Peter Dutton: I didn’t meet a single person at school supporting him.
“Peter Dutton doesn’t really look like a Prime Minister,” someone says.
As another student cynically remarks, “Dutton won’t bring anything to government that Turnbull doesn’t currently”.
Not everyone is really interested.
“I’m not in a position where it really matters,” one student astutely notes.
Others are less restrained.
“I could not care less,” one girl who I interview says. And that’s probably fair.
I can’t help but feel a little like this is just a reality TV show.
I explain to a friend about Matthias Corman switching sides. She glares at him when a photo of him pops up on the news. I decide it’s only the gravity of the situation (especially if Dutton gets in) that keeps my obsession acceptable.
It’s midday now, and in English we’re casting nervous glances. Still no sign of the party meeting on ABC livestream. And then it comes: meeting at 12.20pm, and we’ll know the outcome by 1 o’clock.
It turns out the decision is quicker. In barely 10 minutes, Julie Bishop is gone, and in another
10 we hear the verdict: 45-40 votes for Scott Morrison.
It’s over. I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief.
As I talk to people at lunch there isn’t the hype I felt at recess: maybe that’s partly an observer effect. It’s also probably because so few people recognise Scott Morrison.
Compared to Turnbull, Dutton, and Bishop, not many Year 10’s know about him or have much of an opinion. But no one is very satisfied.
A half-joke goes round that we should move to New Zealand or Canada.
But the real joke, as someone says after school, is Australian politics.