Votes are still being counted today, of course. But one thing's for sure: it's a very bad outcome for the Government. At this stage a hung parliament looks like a real possibility.
Needless to say there are numerous lessons to take away from this. And pundits aplenty will be detailing those in coming days. But here's one that's a real biggie IMO. Just as Brexit proved that culture can be just as powerful as economic considerations in politics, personality can trump policy as a factor -- even if only temporarily.
Turnbull's decision to knife Abbott was clearly driven by his ambition. Obviously that's a common trait in politicians. But I think those with Turnbull's desire for power, money and adoration -- which likely qualifies as narcissism -- are comparatively rare.
So he is a bit of a freak. And that's why he got away with toppling Abbott. He managed to charm, cajole (and perhaps occasionally bully?) enough MPs into believing he was their great saviour and then carry out his crazy coup. Highly ambitious people in their own right, they all became rats to this Pied Piper. Just as Turnbull was drunk on power, they were drunk on him.
And that worked out well, didn't it? These "malcoholics" have all got one helluva hangover today!
And while Turnbull himself is putting the very best spin on the outcome and blaming forces other than himself (as narcissists always do) his glory days are gone for sure. Just as the voters figured out that he was much less competent and visionary than he first appeared to be, so did his co-conspirators (even if they did retain their seats).
So, just as with the oddly but undeniably charismatic Kevin Rudd, Australia's political scene has been shaken to its core by the powerful personality of a flawed individual ... And I'm sure he won't be the last.