Helen and Stuart are staying with the politically disenchanted Gavan in his permanent camp in Gippsland. It is the night of the federal election announcement, and while waiting expectantly for the results to come through the wireless Gavin recounts his days of left-wing activism in his youth. While Stuart, a painter, looks forward to the birth of the nation through art yet to come, Gavin laments the insipid turn-out of his political colleagues, who include none other than the Nationalist-Country Party leader Harding. To the bitter disappointment of Gavan, and the utter disinterestedness of bushman Dick – the type of man in whom Gavan once placed all his political ideals – Harding is re-elected. Yet the play ends with a hopeful toast to the land of 'Australia Felix'.
MICHAEL GAVAN – a writer and politician, about fifty-five
STUART GRAHAM – a young painter
HELEN – his wife
DICK – a bushman, about thirty
WILLIE – Gavan's son, about twenty