In re-electing Scott Morrison, Australians have shown themselves to be a people who put self-interest above all else.
For the first time in decades, Australians were presented with a genuine alternative when they went to the polls on Saturday. Bill Shorten was promising to reverse the ever-widening gap between rich and poor by winding back some of the tax breaks that have made well-off Australians much more well-off and by increasing tax for the wealthy.
He had a plan for climate change, albeit modest; he wanted to force through wage increases in the low-paid retail, hospitality and childcare sectors and to increase the power of trade unions; and he promised to spend more on health and education.
But Australians were not prepared to pay the personal financial cost that would have come with these policies. They were also worried about whether a Shorten government would tip the economy into recession and in particular make house prices fall further.
Importantly for business, Shorten would have challenged the long-held assumption of many in Australia that what is good for business is good for the nation.
Under a Shorten Labor government, business would have not had such a sympathetic ear in Canberra and its ability to tilt the playing field in its favour – often to the detriment of its customers and the nation more broadly – would have been greatly reduced.
But as of Monday, it will be business as usual for the vested interests.
Shorten rose through the ranks of the trade union movement and this is where his power base remained. He would have had many debts to repay had he won government.
For business, this would have meant more militant unions and an industrial relations policy that moved the dial more in favour of the workers. Wage costs would have been pushed up by Shorten's plan to introduce what he called "a living wage", to help casual workers convert to permanent roles, and to make it more expensive to hire foreign workers.
It would have also forced more companies to pay for their carbon emissions.
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Shorten's loss will loom over Australia for much longer than the next two or three years in which the Morrison government remains in power.
Rather than taking a vision to the people that will encompass issues such as the redistribution of wealth, climate change, and health and education reform, oppositions will instead make themselves small targets by introducing policies on things like school lunches, bus shelters and playgrounds.
Voters didn't like Morrison, but they liked Shorten less, suspicions of this careerist politician's personal ambition. As soon as Labor finds a leader who the people can warm to, that leader will win. But they won't gain government with an ambitious policy program that would change the nation.
Instead, it will be more of the same. The next Labor government is unlikely to make any significant changes that would disrupt business.
Morrison's victory is also a win for the Murdoch press, which waged a vigorous campaign against the Labor Party. Unlike political leaders past, Shorten had refused to meet and pay fealty to Rupert Murdoch. A win by Shorten would have curtailed the influence of the Murdoch press, while his loss will likely entrench its influence over Australia politics and send a message that politicians cannot afford to not court the family.
Two policies in particular proved costly for Shorten, and they were both policies which would have eaten into the wealth of many Australians.
Shorten had planned to stop investors claiming tax deductions for their rental properties and to more heavily tax their profits when they sold the properties. He expected this would ease pressure on the property market and open the way for young people to buy their first house.
He also wanted to change the tax treatment of share dividends from companies which have paid their tax. These dividends make up the retirement incomes of so many Australians and Shorten wanted to stop the so-called self-funded retirees from claiming tax refunds of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars from their share dividends, even though they hadn't actually paid any tax.
Scott Morrison, with help from the property and investment industries, was able to run an effective scare campaign about these policies. Where Shorten characterised his policies as targeting the rich, Morrison was able to convince voters that they would hurt the ordinary, everyday Australians who he says he represents.
Labor made gains in socially progressive, wealthy inner-city seats, while the Liberal and National parties gained ground in the outer suburbs and regional areas.
To the surprise of many in those inner-city seats, Saturday saw the re-election of the stone-hearted Peter Dutton, the one-time immigration who orchestrated the downfall of Malcolm Turnbull, and the increasingly erratic former deputy Prime Minister (and New Zealand citizen) Barnaby Joyce.
Saturday night was Australia's own Donald Trump moment, when the media, the pundits, the Canberra insiders, inner-city residents and this columnist learned how divided the nation really is.