The dominant political figure of 2019 by a country mile has been the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, despite continuing doubts on all sides that he is actually a good PM.
However, Morrison's high profile, confirmed by the ANU's Australian Election Study, camouflages a parliament in which many of those around him have been diminished by poor years in 2018-19 or have failed to emerge as high-quality performers.
The stunning election victory and Morrison's emergence have concealed for the time being the damage done to the Liberal Party by last year's leadership contest and the removal of Malcolm Turnbull.
The impact was three-fold. The first at the highest level was the disappearance of Turnbull himself, his deputy and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne along with a clutch of others, like Michael Keenan and Steve Ciobo, at the middle level.
The second was the subsequent consignment of senators Arthur Sinodinos and Mitch Fifield to foreign parts as diplomats.
The third was the serious damage done to the standing and confidence of a previously admired figure, Finance Minister Matthias Cormann, and the hit to the reputation of Health Minister Greg Hunt. Both had deserted Turnbull for the challenger, Peter Dutton, and Hunt failed to win the deputy leadership he coveted.
Some of this shake-up can be rationalised as business as usual in politics. Old hands regularly move on to allow younger stars to emerge. There has been some of this in the form of lively characters like Tim Wilson.
But whether or not the inner damage to the party is permanent, as commentators like Niki Savva and David Crowe have predicted, the immediate negative consequences are obvious. Significant government figures have been lost and their replacements haven't yet stepped up.
While the government seems to be riding high, deep ideological divisions remain and it is struggling to find a coherent agenda or a convincing mojo. What it does have is its heavy foot on the neck of the Opposition.
Labor too has been deeply damaged. Bill Shorten continues to take the heat personally for the defeat and if he can recover to play a continuing significant public role he will have staged a remarkable resurrection.
Just beneath new leader Anthony Albanese is a group of other leaders who have also been battered by the loss and their subsequent treatment. Former deputy Tanya Plibersek was much loved by Labor voters yet had to make way for a far less significant figure in Richard Marles. Chris Bowen, the former Shadow Treasurer, has lost status in the Parliament, and Penny Wong will need to summon all her spirit and resilience to keep operating at the same high level.
Labor has twin problems: how to deal with the emotional shock of the shattering defeat and how to solve the intellectual puzzle of being torn between its blue-collar and white-collar constituencies.
The emotional shock may fade, but it should never be underestimated. The devastation of loss can be so traumatic that it becomes a psychological problem, as it has done with previous political leaders who have suffered, including Tony Abbott.
The intellectual puzzle is not new and Labor parties have been trapped in it for more than 50 years. But the puzzle does have a particularly sharp modern edge to it as Labor confronts the differential impact of climate change and energy policies in an unsettling and untrusting age.
Working alongside the two major parties are two minor parties that are also struggling. Michael McCormack, Nationals Deputy Prime Minister, and Senator Richard di Natale, Greens leader, survived the year but have plenty to ponder.
The Nationals have been scarred by their own leadership woes surrounding Barnaby Joyce, the former leader, who is still lurking in the half-light. They have also been threatened by a modern version of their own long-standing dilemma about their own disconnect from their traditional rural constituents. Trapped in the Coalition they face many bush voters who no longer see them as their authentic voice. The party was hurt by losing seats to the Shooters Fishers and Farmers party, the current insurgency, in the NSW state elections.
Drought, bushfires and river fish kills have also hurt their reputation as the reliable defender of rural Australia. They have a talent problem, most clearly with their leader. McCormack is a shadow of the "big personality" Nationals' leaders of the recent past. They have younger talent, like David Littleproud, but they are still years away from their maximum impact.
The Greens are boxed into their traditional support, fighting to cut through with the general public despite a reasonable election performance. Former leader Bob Brown is still such a large public figure that he looms over the current Greens in Parliament. Younger senators, like Jordon Steele-John, are establishing niche reputations, but the next generation leader has still to emerge.
The Greens face a comparable puzzle to Labor: how to meld their parliamentary and activist roles in a way that enables them to build on community activism, especially among women, to forge an even stronger electoral force. Currently some community activism leaches away when it comes to voting.
The independents and micro parties are in transition too. Clive Palmer's United Australia Party and Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives are dead. Jacqui Lambie and Pauline Hanson attract enough limelight to misleadingly suggest that nothing has changed, but many prominent independents, like Derryn Hinch, Cathy McGowan and Kerryn Phelps, have gone. The Centre Alliance representatives are not yet a patch on Nick Xenophon.
Parliament and parties are at a low ebb. Let's hope it's transitory and not a permanent decline.
- John Warhurst is an Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University.