So has Labor won?
Not yet. The continuing volatility of the electorate suggests that although voters are increasingly frustrated and understand the emptiness of the government's promises, they're not enthusiastically endorsing the opposition.
Last Thursday, polls suggest Australians were focusing on change. But that's not today, and a lot can still happen. Anthony Albanese could have a senior moment, and the simple-minded might accept that Scott Morrison has, however implausibly, somehow become a new person after all.
It could happen. I don't believe it will.
Three years ago it was difficult to pick out which individual seats would fall and provide Labor with a path to victory. Although the polls had insisted for a year that Bill Shorten would win, as Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt pointed out, these results were so statistically improbable they pointed to a polling failure. This time, however, it is different. Not because of enthusiasm for Labor, mind, but rather because this government's barren and incoherent agenda has been revealed to all who care to glance that way.
Contempt, disgust and anger are great motivators. They drive those who otherwise might not bother to shift their votes far more significantly than any overwhelming desire for change. Today these factors are urgently working their way through the electorate. People are looking at the government's empty larder and deciding they can probably do without another car park or football field. They would rather see grown-ups running the country.
The government's entire campaign is built around Scott Morrison's personality, and yet last week's Newspoll had Scott Morrison plumbing a net satisfaction rate of minus 14 per cent: oblivion territory. There are other bad omens for the government, too. Both the previous PMs who, like Morrison, hung on until the last moment before calling the election (Billy McMahon in '72 and Paul Keating in '96) were dispatched into nothingness. Similarly with the decision to have a long campaign, because these give people time to think and focus on what's wrong - just ask Malcolm Turnbull ('16) and Bob Hawke ('84). Both remained in power, but both leaders had far more political fat than this government, which can't afford a loss.
And finally, conclusively, the PM's latest sudden shift in strategy is almost certainly the result of Liberal focus groups that demonstrate voters just don't like Morrison and aren't prepared to back him. That's why he's attempting the most dangerous move of all: a dramatic personal and political remake during a campaign. The last person to try this was the so-called "real Julia", but Gillard watched as her credibility evaporated into ether. Morrison has no credibility spare to lose.
So can he win? Could Morrison hold Tasmania's Bass and win Parramatta, two electorates where he was busy campaigning last week? Eastern suburbs blow-in Andrew Charlton was installed as Labor's candidate there over the heads of local, ethnically connected branch members, but the betting markets still aren't suggesting the opposition will lose any of its seats. Flip your view, however, to seats the government might lose, and suddenly there are lots in play. The slow drag of the tide is pulling against even contrarians like Bridget Archer in Launceston, where the biggest plus she has is that she opposed her leader. It probably won't be enough.
Chance will still have a part to play, of course. Three-cornered contests are incredibly difficult to predict, and there is no guarantee Labor will win any seats there. If those independent challengers, the teal wave, don't succeed in obtaining more primary votes than Labor candidates, it's almost certain they'll be knocked out. Last election a countback demonstrated that although Zali Steggall could (and did) defeat Tony Abbott, her votes certainly wouldn't have pushed the opposition candidate over the line to victory.
It's similar here in the ACT. David Pocock's push to defeat Zed Seselja depends so much on the order in which candidates are eliminated and where everybody puts their preferences. To win, Pocock will need to eat into both Seselja's primary vote and win preferences from unlikely sources like Clive Palmer's United Australia Party faster than they accrue to the Liberals. The simple mechanics are vital when results depend on such a small number of votes, and that's why Labor is so desperate for the electoral pendulum to move consistently.
The party wants to ensure the overall polling numbers translate to a broad swing across the board. What they're desperate to avoid is a situation where there's a significant shift of sentiment in, for example, Queensland, but it's not quite enough to deliver seats; a situation where positive movement is locked up in electorates the party already holds. This is why we need to watch Albanese this week.
His mission now is not to talk about being a Labor child, but rather to reach out to the uncommitted voters. He's got to reassure them both that he's safe, but also that he really can make a difference to their lives. Although the voters who will determine who wins probably still haven't made up their mind, the chances of them backing the Liberals are disintegrating. Pork-barrelling - the misuse of money to buy votes - only gets you so far.
What's more significant is the atrocious way Peter Dutton is playing with our security. He can't understand that defence is too important to play politics with. Marise Payne's inept diplomacy has already lost us the Pacific. Matt Canavan is spending his time shooting holes in the government's pretend emissions-reduction policy, and Barnaby Joyce is off howling at the moon.
It's rare for a government to make the case it should be dismissed as effectively, repeatedly and cogently as this one has.
Make sure you take time to read the instructions and number every box to ensure your vote is formal. Don't forget, you don't get the government you deserve. You end up with the government you vote for.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.