The federal election produced some remarkable outcomes. Associated with the defeat of the government by the Labor opposition were the pathbreaking victories by the six teal independents and the stunning growth in Greens representation. The battleground was metropolitan Australia, with the teals successful in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and the Greens victorious in Brisbane. It is possible that these results are the first steps in the transformation of our political system. Trust in the two-party system has evaporated. Increasing numbers of voters - about a third - are deserting the major parties. A trend evident for many years in the Senate has now spread to the House of Representatives. There are two competing interpretations. The first is that the system will quickly snap back to a relatively normal competition between the two major parties, perhaps as soon as the next federal election. This interpretation is possible given the potential danger of getting carried away by a single result in the immediate aftermath of one election. The election result may turn out to be a protest vote, as new Liberal leader Peter Dutton believes, rather than an enduring one. The second is that there is something bigger going on which builds on deeper changes in Australian society and politics. The past tells us that such transformations can happen. The political system is never static. In the past there have been several major realignments. Rural groups and voters formed the Country Party in 1920 and broke away from a single city-based non-Labor party. The rise of educated middle-class voters transformed the pattern of support for the previously working-class Labor Party. The split in the Labor Party in the 1950s and 1960s led to changes in the religious composition of the Labor, Liberal and Country parties as Catholics moved to the right. These were huge changes. Other party splits, like the rise of the Australian Democrats, also shook the major parties, but ultimately had no lasting impact. The Greens have grown out of grass-roots social movement campaigns, but their path has taken a somewhat traditional political party direction. Initially that path, like the Democrats before them, took the form of Senate success through the proportional representation voting system. But the Greens development was always more deeply rooted through wider representation in state and local governments. It became the party of preference for about 10 per cent of the community. Success in the House of Representatives came much more slowly despite growing support in inner-metropolitan areas. Adam Bandt won the Melbourne electorate in 2010, but despite threatening in other seats the party stalled in the lower house, based on preferential voting in single member electorates. The addition in this election of three new seats in metropolitan Brisbane was backed up by strong performances in similar seats in other states. The Greens are now fierce competitors for both major parties, especially Labor, in many inner-city seats. The success of the teal independents can be traced back to a separate development. The "Voices for..." community movement offered a new approach to representation which threatened the Liberal Party's hold on safe, largely metropolitan, conservative seats. This led first to the election of Cathy McGowan in 2013 and then Helen Haines in Indi. Varieties of these local movements spread across Australia to briefly win former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's seat of Wentworth and backed Zali Steggall to defeat former prime minister Tony Abbott in Warringah in 2019. Another similar strand, built on Nick Xenophon's Centre Alliance in South Australia, won the Liberal stronghold of Mayo. The explosion of teal independents in 2022 built on the election of these women independents. It also contained another important element. There was a clear generational social split within the Liberal Party, producing several candidates with impeccable Liberal credentials. This ideological development harked back to the internal divisions which produced the Australian Democrats. The potential transformation of Australian politics will depend upon these two parallel but different developments: Greens and teals. MORE JOHN WARHURST: The Greens development path is a familiar, but difficult, one. If the Greens continue to grow it will be at the expense of both sides of two-party politics, but especially of the Labor Party. One possibility is that Greens will become the National Party of the inner-city. If that turns out to be the case the relationship between Labor and the Greens will indelibly change. The longer-term future may even involve a permanent alliance between the two parties. The difficulty for the Greens in the House of Representatives is that preferential voting can be manipulated by the major parties to keep them out of office. They will need to continue to grow their primary vote to consolidate their position. The teal independents' future influence on our political system in equally unpredictable. There are two possibilities. One is that a large crossbench in the House of Representatives will become the norm. The record of recently successful independents is that they are not one-election wonders, but consolidate and grow their vote. That is likely to continue and will transform the parliament. There may even be still more independents at the next election. The second more dramatic possibility is that the independents' movement will transform itself into a new middle-class socially progressive political party. That development would threaten many of the best elements of community independents. There will be real tensions. But if it occurs it would reshape the Australian party system in the centre and on the conservative side. If both the Greens and the teals continue to succeed Australian politics will never be the same again.