The elevation of Peter Dutton and David Littleproud to the leadership of the Coalition parties marks the beginning of the 2025 election campaign. They, and their deputies, Sussan Ley and Senator Perin Davey, are the team Liberals and Nationals are pinning their hopes on to knock Labor out of office after just one term.
Mr Dutton, despite attempts to recast him as a more moderate and less divisive figure, made no pretence about wanting to reinvent himself, or to have had a "real Julia" moment.
"I'm not going to change, but I want people to see the entire person I am, and reserve and make their own judgements when they meet me," he said. This could be seen as a reference to the former prime minister and self-described "bulldozer" Scott Morrison's pledge to soften his approach if he had been re-elected to government.
It's probably the best tack for the new Opposition Leader, arguably the strongest choice out of what is now a very shallow Liberal frontbench talent pool, to take. His reputation as a pragmatic headkicker with strongly conservative views definitely precedes him.
Any attempt, at this early stage, to present as a post-epiphanous New Age man who found a Damascene moment in his party's electoral defeat would ring very hollow indeed. Former Nationals MP Peter McGauran put it well on Monday: "Peter is who he is ... people have to be authentic."
It doesn't get much more authentic for the former defence minister than to describe China under President Xi Jinping as the biggest challenge Australia has faced since World War II, and to stand behind the Coalition's existing climate change policy.
He clearly believes the best pathway to victory for the LNP three years from now will be if Labor fails to negotiate the economic headwinds that made a significant contribution to the defeat of the Morrison government. While stopping short of saying "it won't be easy under Albanese" or "there's a hole in your bucket, dear Labor, dear Labor", Dutton made numerous references to the hard economic rain he believes is about to fall.
He referred to the price of petrol as "a bit exxy" and expects it and the price of electricity to keep going up on Labor's watch.
The only real surprise was the former policeman's support for a federal ICAC, prefaced by claims an "unholy alliance" between Labor and elements in the union movement could result in corruption, and his willingness to work with Helen Haines in this regard.
So, despite the election having been fought and won on many issues including action on climate change, inclusion and diversity, women's safety and the need to end conflict fatigue, the Liberals have chosen a new leader who speaks and acts very much like the old one.
Down the hall and around the corner, the Nationals' party room took a more nuanced approach, displaying an unexpected level of self-awareness by dropping Barnaby Joyce in favour of David Littleproud.
This vote, while ununusual given Barnaby saved all the Nationals' seats and picked up an extra senator, is an obvious exercise in future-proofing the Coalition ahead of 2025. Nationals MPs have learnt the hard way it isn't enough for them to hang on by their fingernails. They have to help, or at least not hinder, Liberals in metropolitan seats to get across the line as well.
While both Coalition parties now have women as deputy leaders, it remains to be seen how much clout they will have, or if this is largely tokenism with male faction bosses calling the shots.
Many female voters would have winced when David Littleproud referred to the "powerful and strong women ... standing behind me" on Monday.
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