Silence is the most alarming sound in politics.
In a world sustained by relentless noise and rhetoric, the sound of nothing at all is the most piercing. It is often the most telling.
Silence is the fuel that drives suspicion and speculation.
Alistair Coe has not spoken publicly since he conceded defeat in the ACT election just after 9pm on Saturday night.
Coe ended his speech, which was equal parts gracious, defiant, passionate and pensive, with a declaration that leading the Canberra Liberals had been the greatest honour of his life.
The various conclusions that could be drawn from those words hung in the air as he stepped off the stage, acknowledged a small group of colleagues and walked out of the second-floor function room at the QT Hotel.
He hasn't fronted the media or returned phone calls or text messages since. Those words from Saturday night still hang in the air. So too does his future as leader.
It's in stark contrast to the approach taken by former leader Jeremy Hanson, who invited the media into his Holder home just hours after his devastating 2016 election loss.
The Canberra Times described Hanson as clearly dejected as he reflected on the party's campaign, his own leadership and his likely successor (Coe).
His comments drew a line under the election result, helping, perhaps only in small part, to start the process of healing and moving on from the defeat.
It didn't drown out noise from critical voices, far from it. It never does. But it meant Hanson and the Liberals had at least some part in writing their own story.
The vacuum created by Coe's silence has left others to publicly dissect the Liberals' election defeat. Former Liberal senator and chief minister Gary Humphries stepped in to lash the campaign and the conservative forces paralysing the local branch.
Grassroots members from party's moderate flank are starting to agitate for change. Labor leader Andrew Barr has playfully speculated Coe's future might not be in the ACT Legislative Assembly, but in Zed Seselja's seat in the Senate.
The Liberals' election loss is being framed as a resounding rejection of Coe's leadership and credibility and, it would appear, little else.
Tellingly, very few of Coe's colleagues have publicly pushed backed against that narrative in the past two days, or sought to back in their leader.
The Liberal leader might have very good and legitimate reasons for remaining quiet. With votes still being counted, it's not clear exactly who will be in the Liberal party room in the next term.
Coe threw everything at the five-week campaign. He's no doubt wanted to catch up on lost sleep and lost time with his wife and two children.
But it's impossible not to speculate or suspect - that's what silence does.
Coe developed a reputation in the past 18 months for refusing to front the media when negative news breaks.
After The Sunday Canberra Times revealed a plot to overthrow Coe as leader, it was left to deputy Nicole Lawder to answer questions on his and the party room's behalf. There were many other examples.
At a time when Coe desperately needed to raise his profile, it was a bizarre tactic.
When he had no choice but to front the media during the election campaign, silence was replaced with obfuscation and evasion.
He refusal to answer questions, particularly early in the campaign about how the Liberals would pay for their expensive promises, created a vacuum for others to fill with their own conclusions. It had a corrosive effect on the campaign.
Coe could front the media today or tomorrow, I've no idea.
But in some respects it is already too late. The narrative has already been written by others.
That's what silence - the most alarming sound in politics - allows.
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