Peter Dutton tried hard to make a virtue of what had looked like a safe bet to appear on Insiders the morning after the Aston byelection. Retaining the seat was, after all, a certainty. But then Labor almost doubled the enormous swing achieved in Aston last year, securing the 2.8 per cent margin required. And then some. No federal government of either stripe had increased its majority through a byelection in 102 years. Now, though, one had. For the Liberals, Aston was a disaster. A no-show from their unpopular leader on Sunday morning would have only underscored it. Especially after leaving his face off Liberal Party campaign material and having him go quiet in Parliament leading up to the poll. Clearly the Dutton strategy was to keep a low profile before the byelection, and a high profile afterwards. The prime Sunday morning political interview was key to that revival plan. Dutton reveres John Howard and would have remembered how the beleaguered PM had turned the very first Insiders show to his advantage after the Aston byelection of 2001. Howard had looked gone for all money at the looming general election, but said the Aston win put him "well and truly back in the game". "If there were an unstoppable momentum for Labor to win the federal election they'd have rolled us over in Aston," he told Barrie Cassidy. Which proved right. But Dutton is no Howard and more importantly, this is not 2001. Indeed a growing proportion of current Aston electors were not even born in 2001. Younger voters, in particular, have been sickened by the no-to-everything mix of anti-climate, anti-trans, anti-Voice dog-whistling from the Coalition and its media shills. It seems to have escaped many Liberals' attention that new voters see little point in manufactured culture wars and weaponised negativity. In the weeks leading up to the poll, Dutton's Coalition had railed loudly against superannuation reform, emissions reduction, a manufacturing and infrastructure fund, a social housing fund, all while continuing to undermine the Voice initiative supported by most Australians. When Dutton did appear for the interview he had nothing of substance to say. Just like his first press conference as Liberal leader, he offered no sense of contrition, no sense of having got the message from voters. Any responsibility for failure was couched in the softening collectives "our" and "we" amid a blancmange of excuses for things beyond his control including mischaracterisations of Coalition policy, Labor's mud-slinging, and, well, Victorians generally - another thing he seems to be against. READ MORE: This is a form of blindness. With the notable exception of the 2019 election upset, Australians since the 2017 marriage equality plebiscite, have consistently opted for socially progressive positions, rejecting fear in favour of improvement. A glance at the electoral map of Australia shows this graphically and suggests the Voice referendum might just be be winnable even without the usual requirement for bipartisan support simply because the opposition keeps making itself irrelevant. It's ASTONishing.