THEY say disunity is death in politics and that’s the brutal truth underpinning the 2013 federal election result - and this recent political era.
The poll produced an anticipated Coalition victory and removed a Labor government that promised a lot when they first came to office six years ago - but was overwhelmingly constrained by internal fragmentation, disunity and distraction.
Important policy issues like the economy, asylum seekers, heath and education were typically central to the election campaign but nobody was really listening that closely to all of the details.
The elephant in the room for Labor - which filtered everybody’s judgement of events, like wearing sunglasses at midnight - was the hollow man himself, Kevin Rudd.
Standing before the nation with a smile, he said ‘trust me and vote for me, not them, because I’ve got a plan and I’m your man’.
He smiled bravely while saying he was a happy Vegemite, from Queensland here to help, or he’s got to zip now, but nothing could hide the harsh reality of deep voter distaste.
Everyone, including most senior experienced politicians in the Labor camp, really did want him to zip and never return - and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.
One thing is now assured – the notes of history will be written far kinder towards Julia Gillard’s prime ministership of Australia, than Kevin Rudd’s time at the helm.
His gloating election night speech was anything but the graceful exit you’d expect from someone who had just overseen his team’s crushing defeat. He should have been humbled by the electorate’s democratic choice and needed to acknowledge the reasons behind the ALP's loss - and give something up of himself.
The ungracious speech delivered a telling, final footnote in a sad tale of a man’s stubborn failure to express true leadership and prompted that old saying to mind – denial is not just a river in Africa.
Judging by the exuberance of his departure speech, it seemed this election was all about Kevin being 'the man' and retaining a few seats for some of his Labor mates in Queensland.
And the rest of the nation, and rural Australians - well they’re not such important issues now are they?
It seems Kevin’s real blind spot was his inability to accept responsibility for the crushing Labor defeat through his central role, over the past three and a half years, in constantly and consistently undermining his former leader.
Ms Gillard’s job was hard enough – our first female Prime Minister battling the ongoing uncertainty and complicated negotiations underpinning the very essence of this complicated hung parliament, with a swag of independents in the Lower House and Greens in the Senate.
But she also had to counter the constant enemy from within her own ranks, Kevin.
After losing the Labor leadership, he manoeuvred in the dark and stalked his one time deputy leader with the vicious wanton revenge of a Shakespearean character, caught somewhere between Macbeth, Hamlet and Iago.
Labor must now go away and lick its wounds and elect someone fresh and new to take the party forward and as many critics have already expressed, draw a clear and unambiguous line in the sand to say goodbye to the Rudd-Gillard era.
One thing they may like to consider during this exile is the way that the Coalition has expressed leadership and unity over the past four years or so.
Instead of searching for the messiah, or taking a short-term sugar hit to return to Malcolm Turnbull (as many had hoped when Tony Abbott’s future looked uncertain), they resisted temptation and rallied behind their leader.
Instead of blaming all of the party’s woes on one person and making him a scapegoat for everybody’s inability to be leaders themselves, the party took responsibility for crafting and moulding a stronger leader.
The result: instead of suffering the clouded thoughts of enemies lurking within, or rats in the ranks waiting in the dark with long knives, Mr Abbott - at least for this chapter in political history – guided his team forward confidently, knowing they too had committed to the same journey.
In turn, that gained the Australian public’s trust and confidence.
Now, Mr Abbott and his Coalition members have a chance to put their money where their collective mouths are and deliver stability to a public - especially rural Australians - fatigued by political debauchery and self-interest.