Saturday’s federal election was a turning point in more ways than one. It was the first election in the post-Hawke era. It was notable for the record-breaking level of pre-poll voting. It was a contest that defied the pollsters. And the campaign showed up glaring gaps in how we regulate and manage elections.

The biggest gaps are in the rules about electoral funding and advertising, for this was also Australia’s first Brewster’s Millionselection. Unlike the Richard Pryor and John Candy film — in which the candidate tries to lose — our billionaire tried hard to win, and we are all poorer for it.

Across Australia, the dust is settling on the bunting in the back of electoral offices. Antony Green has rendered his judgement, and we’ve all expelled a breath of relief that the latest spate of election advertising is over. This time round, though, the ads were especially long, negative, contentious and damaging.

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