Think you can handle tonight's election coverage calmly, sober, following on with politically correct commentary and astute observations? WRONG. There are three things you need to get through the vote counting election coverage, that is essentially just numbers for three hours until a winner is declared victorious, those being: a strong sentiment of My Body Is Ready - especially your liver; a choice variety of your preferred liquors, and a bunch of your mates who all have different, shouty and passionate views on politics. This is not a drill, people: we only get an election once every three years, time to make this count, you political animals, you. 

Before we begin, make sure you also have your phones at the ready to monitor twitter and facebook, ready to post your well-lubricated opinions and memes that will no doubt be MORE funny and definitely LESS obnoxious throughout the night, sure. You also need to decide which election coverage to switch on to. Looking at the major free-to-air networks you've got ABC1 and ABC News 24 boasting panelists Annabel Crabb, Kerry O'Brien, Antony Green and Stephen Smith, with the added luxury of no ads; Channel Seven will be hosted by Chris Bath, Mark Riley, Melissa Doyle and Matt White, Channel Nine will be led by the man, the legend, the prodigy Laurie Oakes; Channel Ten's panel will include Hugh Riminton, Charlie Pickering, Carrie Bickmore, Dave Hughes, Natasha Stott Despoja and Steve Price, and SBS starts its coverage at 9:30pm which is an extremely smart move because that's around about the time that anything interesting will actually happen. 

BOTTOMS UP, MOLES, THE RULES:

Sip one fingers' worth when:

- Anyone says "decide", "Australia decides" "the nation decides" "you decide" etc

- Someone calls this election "the most important election in history"

- Kevin Rudd says "folks" "folk" "cooking with gas", "Brissy" or mentions he's from Queensland, m8

- Tony Abbott's daughters appear on screen

- Anyone mentions Julia Gillard, and how she's in the best position of every politician tonight, and is probably drunker than you are right now

- "Stop The Boats" is shouted for no particular reason

- Every time the most marginal seats - Corangamite, Deakin, Greenway, Robertson, Boothby, Hasluck, Aston are mentioned as being "election deciders"


Sip two fingers worth when:

- Clive Palmer forgets a party members' name, twerks, or mentions dinosaurs

- Laurie Oakes refers to an election that everybody has forgotten about 

- The animated clip of the House of Representatives tells us absolutely nothing

- When the camera is left hanging on the panel host for a cripplingly awkward period of time, after saying "Now we cross live to..."

- Annabel Crabb makes a sassy remark about Kevin Rudd's gesticulations, or makes a cooking-related pun

- "Paid Parental Leave" Scheme is mentioned


Finish your drink when:

- footage crosses to vox pops on the streets, and token racism flourishes

- Nobody from the liberal party remembers their six point plan

- The camera crosses to a pub where the atmosphere is "wild", but is actually depressing


Take a shot when a former Prime Minister weighs in on the debate, making an entirely irrelevant point

Take two shots when a Palmer United Party Candidate wins a seat

Take three shots when the coverage all becomes too much, and you start wondering what the Chaser boys are up to


Take as many shots as there were percentages in your preferred candidate losing your Electorate's seat

Pour a Skyler White Size glass of wine and drink slowly when you realise that the flawless Leigh Sales isn't here to guide you through tonight's trainwreck


Stand up, fist pump and make yourself a burrito if your preferred candidate won your electorate's seat despite negative polling

Down an entire bottle of Champagne if Karl Stefanovic is called on to comment on the election, and makes a weed reference, chuckling slyly to himself


Skull a beer when Kevin Rudd makes his defeated speech, and cries à la 2010

BONUS:

If you're happy when Tony Abbott wins:

Call it a night, pen I Told You So Tweets and sober up: you've got 3 years of defending your preferred Prime Minister who boils the Syrian crisis down to "Baddies versus Baddies" to look forward to.


If you're depressed when Tony Abbott wins:

Take to the #1950herewecome tag in abandon, retreat to the cellar cum bunker you preemptively created in case of a Conservative PM emergency, and get drunk enough to last you three years.