It’s clear from both this week’s and last week’s Essential Report data that Liberal voters — who make up not much under 40% of the electorate — are very grumpy about the outcome of the hung Parliament.

That’s understandable, although it provides no justification for the Coalition’s deliberate campaign to discredit the minority government as “illegitimate”,  a charge that is constitutionally absurd and politically dangerous. It’s not a big jump from saying that any government is illegitimate to saying whatever means necessary are justified in removing it.

It is however right to be sceptical that a government composed of a major political party, its smaller left-wing rival and three independents of varying backgrounds can steer a course that will consistently serve the national interest. The stability of such a grouping is one thing — none, presumably, wish to rush back to the polls any time soon. But its capacity to effectively deliver on the key issues that must be dealt with in this parliamentary term — problems like our carbon output, the housing shortage, the negative impacts of the mining boom, and skills shortages — is the more significant issue.

The Rudd Government — for reasons partly attributable to the GFC, but mostly attributable to policy cowardice — had a relatively poor reform record compared to its two predecessors. The pace of reform therefore needs to pick up, not slip, because problems not addressed over the last decade aren’t going away, they’re growing worse, and the costs of addressing them are as well.

Nonetheless it’s not unreasonable to propose that what is in Federal terms a relatively novel grouping be given a chance to prove the sceptics wrong, to show that consensual politics can work effectively in the national interest. There is no evidence at the moment that the electorate would not split in roughly the same way as it did on 21 August. That might not deliver a hung Parliament again — the vagaries of individual seats would probably deliver one side or the other a victory — but it would serve as further evidence that voters don’t want politics-as-usual.