But when an electorate like Brighton convulsed so dramatically at the thought of voting Liberal that it very nearly chose a Labor Party teenage nobody, and when the people of blue riband Hawthorn turned their backs on their Liberal MP, John Pesutto – a man respected enough to appear the sort who could actually lead his party out of the depths, should he survive – brand Liberal has an awful lot of healing to do in an awfully short time.
Those voters, quite obviously, were rejecting a party they felt had rejected them, or at least their idea of what the Liberal Party was supposed to be.
The behaviour of what had been their party at federal level – the flirting with Tony Abbott’s choice of punisher, Peter Dutton, the overthrow of their idea of a leader, Malcolm Turnbull, and the choice of a chancer, Scott Morrison, as a replacement prime minister – had poisoned them.
And the poison had seeped all the way down.
The South Australian premier, Steven Marshall, has “paused” treaty negotiations with Aboriginal groups, saying he has “other priorities” in Indigenous affairs.
Marshall, who holds the Aboriginal affairs portfolio, told the ABC his government would focus on “practical outcomes” over “symbolic action”.