The Eden-Monaro result will cause ripples right across the political spectrum. Labor almost lost, Barilaro almost certainly cost the Liberals the seat, and the Greens have become irrelevant, if Eden-Monaro is a guide.
A win is a win. Congratulations to Labor and Anthony Albanese, and to Kristy McBain. Marginal seat, narrow margin, seat held for Labor, job done.
The Liberal Party can take great heart. By-elections usually result in a swing against the government of the day. The result is doubly sweet because certain sections of the media played pictures of bushfires over and over again, as if they were a federal issue.
Labor advertisements gloatingly used the Prime Minister's Cobargo handshake incident. Even in booths in the worst bushfire-affected places, the Liberal vote was up. The Liberal two-party preferred vote was up 6.5 per cent in Cobargo on the following day's counting, for example.
The NSW Government is responsible for burning-off and providing adequate fire-fighting resources.
Voters are not as dumb as politicians would like to think. The NSW government is responsible for burning-off and providing adequate fire-fighting resources. And state member for Bega and former treasurer Andrew Constance, too.
Then there's the National Party, almost made irrelevant as a result of Eden-Monaro. This had been a Liberal seat held by Gary Nairn before Mike Kelly won for Labor. The Nationals are entitled under coalition rules to contest a seat that has to be won from Labor. So they could have fielded a quality candidate, from day one, and been in with a chance.
Along comes NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, state member for Monaro, Deputy Premier, and Minister for Regional NSW. He too bears responsibility if burning-off and fire-fighting resources were inadequate.
After grandstanding for a moment or two, Barilaro showed his lack of guts by withdrawing in early May, but not before he had muddied the waters for Liberal candidate, Dr Fiona Kotvojs.
Let's not forget Barilaro's traitorous remarks about Michael McCormack's Federal leadership, so that a poor Nationals' result could be interpreted as voter criticism of McCormack.
Barilaro authorised a last minute under-funded candidate, then reportedly put the message around that Nationals' voters should preference Labor, despite the official ticket placing the Liberal candidate second.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Barilaro told state Nationals that he had preferenced Labor's Mike Kelly second in the 2019 election. This is the state Nationals' leader, advising voters to preference Labor? And he has the hide to criticise Michael McCormack?
At the time of filing this column, final voting figures weren't available, but reports suggest that Nationals preferences "leaked" to Labor by 20-30 per cent, enough to have given the Liberals' Fiona Kotvojs victory.
Then Barilaro boasted that he will be a candidate in Eden-Monaro at the next election! On election night he claimed he could have won the seat this time!
When Barilaro quits as Deputy Premier, his replacement is tipped to be Bathurst's Paul Toole, the Nationals' minister responsible for the ongoing festering sore of council amalgamations.
Council amalgamations were Liberal policy, appropriate for the inner city, to stop tinpot suburban councils holding up developments. City people don't care about local councils, but the Nationals know that country communities do.
Toole's amalgamation fiasco gave away the seat of Orange to the Shooters. The Shooters took two far west Nationals' seats at the last state election. Do the NSW Nationals have a future?
I mentioned that The Greens had become irrelevant.
A desperate Adam Bandt was playing down the election result last week, ranting that the climate crisis could be like "coronavirus on steroids" in a decade. Yesterday's man.
After campaigning that the Black Summer fires were "coal-fuelled blazes", the Eden-Monaro Greens' vote was 4817 (5.6 per cent), down from 8715 (8.8 per cent) in 2019. Even the "informal" count at 5752 (6.3 per cent) was a long way ahead of Bandt's sorry mob.
Adam Bandt called on voters to use the July 4 poll to send a message to Scott Morrison about the climate crisis. And they did.
The Two-Candidate-Preferred tally showed the Liberal vote was up by +0.45 per cent. The Greens were down 3.2 per cent.
Got the message, Adam?