"EVERYTHING'S against me," Jane Austin lamented this week. She is Labor's candidate in the state's most marginal seat of Denison and was reflecting on her misfortune to score the last spot on the ballot paper in the random draw.
To make matters worse, the Liberal Party confirmed it would send their preferences her rival Andrew Wilkie's way.
It was an off-the-cuff remark but straight from the Labor 2013 campaign play book.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been reminding us from day 1 of the campaign that he is the underdog.
It's a clever strategy and not inaccurate.
A Labor win is a long shot, but Australians love an underdog - someone fighting their heart out against the odds.
It can go too far though. There's a fine line between claiming underdog status and sounding like a whinger.
Things are really not so bad for the Labor first-time candidate.
Mr Wilkie may have all the advantages of incumbency and an unusually high profile for an independent thanks to the last three years of minority government, but Ms Austin is backed by a big party machine. When it comes to preferences Mr Wilkie may get a significant boost from the Liberals' preferences, Ms Austin will benefit from a a deal with the Greens.
No one was surprised by the Liberal Party's decision to favour Mr Wilkie.
Of course, the Opposition would prefer the seat to remain out of Labor's hands and given it doesn't stand a chance itself, the independent is, as state director Sam McQuestin put it, "the best of a bad bunch".
That didn't stop Labor claiming it was evidence Mr Wilkie was cosying up to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott though. Mr Wilkie returned fire, accusing Labor of hypocrisy after it chose to rank the Liberal candidate above him.
As someone that doesn't pay any attention to the plethora of how-to- vote cards thrust in your face as you enter the polling booth, the fuss over preferences can seem a little baffling.
The whole issue could be avoided if everyone just made up their own minds. For that reason, I like Mr Wilkie's approach of running an "open ticket" where all he asks is for a number 1 next to his name and expects individuals to decide which candidates deserve the number 2 and 3 and 4 and so on.
Other parties think that's expecting a little too much of voters and take it upon themselves to provide further advice.
There are two reasons preferences matter, one practical, the other symbolic.
Sticking to just the lower house contests, it's only in the close seats where preferences make any real difference.
In Tasmania's case, Denison is the only seat where preferences will come into play.
In all the other seats, how Liberal and Labor rank the rest of the candidates has no effect.
Preferences from voters who put a number 1 next to candidates from either of the two major parties will never be distributed.
That's why Labor's main priority is to make it as easy as possible for people to cast a formal vote, ie not stuff it up.
It's why it doesn't care even when that creates the strange situation where the Liberal candidate picks up the number 2 spot as has happened in Lyons.
The choices made often matter symbolically a great deal more. They are seen as a reflection of party values.
Keen to distance itself from the Greens at any opportunity, Labor has put the party it shared minority government with last in all but Denison.
Labor was also forced to stop press on Tuesday night after admitting it hadn't done its research on the far-right micro- party Rise Up Australia.
After the last-minute rethink the party was relegated to last place in Denison (although it was too late to change it in Braddon).
It's not as though the anti- Muslim party would have got any extra votes thanks to Labor's mistake, but it was a bad look.