Before he took the second-highest job in the land, Riverina MP McCormack had never held so much as a Cabinet ministry. Today he is both leader of the Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister. Against the odds, he has successfully fended off any challenge to his leadership.
Shorten’s year could have been so different. Just one byelection loss would have triggered leadership tensions and could have been enough to convince Malcolm Turnbull to call an early election. At the end of the parliamentary year, the Morrison Government trails Labor by 10 points in the polls and Shorten goes into 2019 closer to the prime ministership than ever.
For the most part, Frydenberg stayed out of the August leadership stoush, and it paid off. The Victorian MP won the support of his colleagues to take over as deputy leader of the Liberal Party and become Australia’s first Jewish Treasurer.
Of the seven byelections held in 2018, the most unlikely seat to change hands was former PM Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth. Phelps’ win robbed the government of its one-seat majority and revealed the true extent of the hiding the Liberal Party will face at the next election. Her win rewrote the history books and has made the crossbench a more influential voice in Canberra.