Saturday's election result left people on both sides of politics stunned, not to mention the journalists, pollsters and bookies who had tipped a change of government.
Labor campaigned on a set of policies in keeping with its working-class roots, openly favouring "low- and middle-income" Australians by taking from what it termed the "top end of town".
The Opposition also presented what it regarded as a progressive climate change agenda, promising to invest in renewable energy and prepare the workforce for a transition away from fossil fuels.
Voters' repudiation of this platform will be a bitter pill to swallow for Labor supporters. Some are already talking half-jokingly about moving to New Zealand, just as Democrat true believers vowed to migrate to Canada after Donald Trump claimed the US presidency in 2016.
Several commentators have talked of Australia fracturing along similar political lines to America and the UK, where Brexit has polarised the electorate. It would be a shame if this were to happen here, and politicians, pundits, keyboard warriors and the wider public have a part to play in ensuring debates on climate change and other key issues are based on facts and a willingness to listen on all sides.
The ALP post-mortems will start with a live autopsy on Bill Shorten's leadership and the style of campaign the party ran, especially the decision to spell out a policy agenda.
Port Stephens state MP Kate Washington said on Sunday that Labor, which also lost the NSW poll in March, must re-examine how it related to voters.
"It was clear that some people are angry, disengaged and distrustful of both major parties," she said.
Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon, who watched his margin drop from 12.5 to 2.5 per cent in the face of what he termed a conservative "scare campaign" on Labor's climate plans, said the electorate had delivered the party a "huge protest vote" and was not ready for a progressive policy agenda.
The margin in Hunter has not been that small since Fitzgibbon's father, Eric, was elected in 1984.
Labor also felt the pain in Shortland and Paterson, where 5 per cent swings against it mean three Hunter seats which have never voted anything but Labor are now all considered marginal.
Former Port Stephens state Liberal MP Craig Baumann said this did not necessarily mean any of the electorates were now winnable for the Coalition. He suggested the Labor vote across the region might have "bottomed out" on Saturday.
The Coalition effectively ran dead in the Hunter during the campaign as it focused on holding seats elsewhere.
If both major parties feel compelled to put more money and energy into the region before the 2022 campaign, no one in the Hunter will be complaining.