A dazzling and insightful look at the forthcoming federal election, built from pen portraits and reports from the campaign trail.

In Quarterly Essay 74, Erik Jensen considers what has gone wrong for the Coalition, and what prospects it has for renewal or collapse. He looks at Labor's strengths and weaknesses, and what kind of government it might form.

Through interviews and close observation, Jensen homes in on the meaning of a transformative election. Are we seeing the last days of the Liberal Party? Is Labor capable of forging a new accord for the nation? Does anyone have an answer to the voters' disgust with politics as usual?