On election nights, dozens of different stories spin off as the votes are tallied. Usually, however, we can keep our eyes on the main narrative: will it be the red team or the blue?

Last night, something very different happened. The normal rules did not apply, and the idea of a “safe” seat became faintly ridiculous. The political colour scheme mushroomed, and ABC election analyst Antony Green spoke for the entire country when he pleaded, “sorry, my brain’s burning a little bit”.

Today, as counting continues, we have begun the process of understanding not just what happened, but why, and what it means. From Canberra, Michelle Grattan writes of the enormity of the Liberal Party’s loss. “The rout of Scott Morrison goes beyond the defeat of his government. It has left behind a Liberal party that is now a flightless bird,” she says.

She also notes that Labor leader Anthony Albanese – whose chances of forming a majority seem to be improving – has proven to be an uncharismatic campaigner but a canny one. “Albanese kept his nerve and held the party together,” Grattan says. These are useful skills to have as you prepare to be sworn in as prime minister.

Meanwhile, Anna Skarbek and Anna Malos write on what the Greens and teals’ success will mean for Labor’s climate policy. And Emma Lee tells us[https://theconversation.com/prime-minister-albaneses-victory-speech-brings-hope-for-first-nations-peoples-role-in-democracy-183454] Albanese’s victory speech – that began with a full commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart – brings hope for the future. “What has been beautiful is the idea that an Indigenous Voice is no longer a wedge issue”.

Judith Ireland

Deputy Editor, Politics + Society

View from The Hill: Morrison was routed by combination of quiet Australians and noisy ones

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The rout of Scott Morrison goes beyond the defeat of his government. It has left behind a Liberal party that is now a flightless bird.

Election results update: Labor to form government as both major parties’ primary votes slump

Adrian Beaumont, The University of Melbourne

If Labor wins majority government, it can thank Western Australia, which turned away from the Coalition savagely.

The teals and Greens will turn up the heat on Labor’s climate policy. Here’s what to expect

Anna Skarbek, Climateworks Centre; Anna Malos, Climateworks Centre

Labor’s climate and energy policies provide an important foundation for progress. But the crossbenchers, whether they hold the balance of power or not, will demand far more.

Prime Minister Albanese’s victory speech brings hope for First Nations Peoples’ role in democracy

Emma Lee, Swinburne University of Technology

Prime Minister Albanese’s victory speech commitment to the Uluru Statement brings new possibilities for First Nations peoples’ Voice to Parliament.

Labor has a huge health agenda ahead of it. What policies should we expect?

Stephen Duckett, The University of Melbourne

Primary care and COVID will be the top two challenges for new government. But the likely ministers have strong credentials.

What has Labor promised on an integrity commission and can it deliver a federal ICAC by Christmas?

Yee-Fui Ng, Monash University

Labor has proposed a robust commission with strong powers, coupled with checks and balances to ensure it does not abuse its powers.

With a new Australian government and foreign minister comes fresh hope for Australia-China relations

James Laurenceson, University of Technology Sydney

Beijing has form in using the arrival of a new government as an opportunity to undertake a face-saving adjustment.

Victoria turns red and teal as Liberals are all but vanquished in greater Melbourne

Zareh Ghazarian, Monash University

Once referred to as its ‘jewel in the crown’, Victoria has turned its back on the Liberal Party, taking with it some of its key MPs.


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