After December’s Newspoll suggested SA Best was outgunning both major parties on the primary vote, Xenophon swiftly lifted his sights – his original ambition to contest around a dozen Lower House seats soon became 20, then 24 (the number required to form a majority in the 47-seat parliament), then 30, before finally running out of steam at 36.

All of which had plenty of pundits, including within major party ranks, fervently predicting he could finish up with more seats than the Liberal Party, whose terrain he appeared set to plunder – particularly in the Hills seats nestled within the footprint of the federal Mayo electorate, where the NXT’s Rebekha Sharkie was already ensconced.