Eager to present a rounder picture of himself to the electorate, Peter Dutton has pledged that by 2025, he will have offered voters a substantial alternative that is not "Labor-lite" and will "clean up Labor's inevitable mess". For a known hard-man trying to sound more user-friendly, it was a pretty punchy start. One got the distinct sense it was the voters who had got things wrong, not the former government. With that mindset, failure is all but assured. Missing from his first press conference was the humility voters might welcome. There was no backwards step on Dutton's particularly conspicuous China war drums - despite a hit to the Chinese-Australian vote, a heavily qualified explanation for walking out on Kevin Rudd's 2008 Apology to the Stolen Generations (and thus ongoing ambiguity over the Uluru Statement), further ambiguity over climate change, a slap at the ABC, and on it went. Dutton's appointment to the "toughest job in politics" was the only choice open to the beleaguered Liberals once Josh Frydenberg was defeated in Kooyong. But it may also be turn out to be the wiser choice anyway if Dutton successfully deploys his conservative cache to shift his party back to the mainstream. However, if that is his plan, it remains well hidden. His promotion came as the junior Coalition party also broke with its past. The Nationals don't do modernisation per se, but the switch from the unembarrassable Barnaby Joyce to the younger David Littleproud, made too much sense, even for them. In truth, change in both parties was unavoidable after the electoral earthquake of May 21. Its tenure in the wilderness would only be extended by sticking with the personnel who had attracted such electoral opprobrium. One was reminded of this on election night as Joyce had kicked off the coverage with an insulting diatribe against metropolitan voters flirting with independents. The nationally broadcast tantrum was emblematic of his entitlement complex - an inability to decouple his own interests from those of the nation. READ MORE: In the days since, he had lamely argued that the junior coalition partner had held up its end of the log, retaining all 16 of its seats nationally. The Liberals lost 17. Yet anyone with the faintest sense of the national zeitgeist knew there were two other names in voters' minds in blue-ribbon Liberal seats around the country, Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce. The former, a loathed and ineffective blame-shifter, had been branded a hypocrite and a liar by, wait for it ... the latter. And these were the government's two top men - prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively. Between them, they had handed the teal independents their best response when Liberal incumbents positioned themselves as anti-Morrison "moderates". All the "teals" had to say was: "[insert sitting member's name here] voted with Barnaby Joyce every time in the Parliament". Dutton and Littleproud offer their teams a break from these shabby manoeuvrings but the task ahead involves maintaining unity while forcing their parties to confront ideological blind-spots.