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Newcastle Herald

The brutality of elections as the new PM takes over - and takes off

The interim Albanese frontbench. Picture: AAP

Elections are brutal affairs. On Friday, you might be prime minister. On Monday, you are yesterday's man. It's one of the great joys of democracy. We vote them in and we vote them out.

Last week's maybe-man, Anthony Albanese, has now been sworn in as Australia's 31st prime minister.

He immediately got down to business - or rather up for business because he headed for the prime ministerial plane to fly to Japan for the important meeting of the other heads of the Quad countries - the United States, Japan, India as well as Australia.

Mr Albanese was sworn in with his deputy, Richard Marles, and Penny Wong, Jim Chalmers and Katy Gallagher as, respectively, Employment Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister, Treasurer, and Minister for Women and Attorney-General.

One change of tone was noticeable before he left. At the pre-departure press conference, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags stood alongside the Australian flag.

Over on the other side, the grieving and the jostling is underway. The big decision for the Liberals seems to be: do they move left in the wake of victories by the left or do they move right, perhaps in the belief that the economy may have turned sour for Mr Albanese in three years' time.

There is much talk of Peter Dutton standing for leader. One of his potential rivals is out for the count: the former treasurer Josh Frydenberg conceded the seat of Kooyong. Independent candidate Monique Ryan will replace him as MP for the Melbourne-based electorate.

One person who accepts no blame for the demise of the Morrison government is the former deputy prime minister.

When asked, Barnaby Joyce took no responsibility for the slew of inner-city Liberal seats that fell to "teal" independents and Greens across the country.

"I'm in the Nationals, and we got swings to us - the Liberals fight Liberal battles, and the Nationals fight Nationals battles," he said.

The blame game has only just begun.

An unnamed 34-year-old Canberra man has nobody to blame but himself.

Police officers were on patrol in the city on Sunday evening when they saw a black BMW 323i sedan accelerate away from them at speeds of up to 161km/h in a 80km/h zone.

The driver was stopped. He told officers he thought the police were "his mates trying to race him".