PRIME Minister Scott Morrison is free to speak confidently about the Coalition's chances at the coming federal election, but surely the government's departing members say otherwise.
Former foreign minister and one-time leadership aspirant Julie Bishop became the latest on Thursday when she announced she would not recontest her West Australian seat.
In doing so, she joined Kelly O'Dwyer and Michael Keenan as high-profile Coalition names who will not be fighting the election.
And it would be naive to think there won't be others.
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The reasons for the departures of Ms Bishop, Ms O'Dwyer and Mr Keenan can only be speculated on - and in the case of Ms O'Dwyer, who has very young children, the "spending more time with my family" explanation does actually ring true - but surely a significant factor must be the Coalition's chances of electoral success.
Politicians who have spent two terms in government, who have reached the pinnacle of their career with a ministerial appointment, do not usually relish the idea of a stint on the opposition benches.
They know the signs - indeed, their ascension to cabinet usually indicates an ability to read the signs - and they will have a sense of which way voters are preparing to jump.
And every indication is that voters will jump the way of Labor.
Of course, Mr Morrison must not give any sense that this is the case. It is his responsibility to be adamant right up until polling day that the election is winnable, that politics is a funny business, that even the underdog will occasionally have its day.
No-one would expect anything else from the prime minister - whether Labor or Coalition. Such dogged confidence acts as a message not just to frightened members of his side of parliament, but to the Coalition's supporters and workers across the country.
He will have to grimace and bear Ms Bishop's departure - as he did with Ms O'Dwyer and Mr Keenan - but he will know that his job gets harder each day.
The great mystery of this most recent period in federal politics is why a Coalition that watched Labor tear itself apart through leadership coups then went and followed exactly the same template.
It would seem voters are preparing to punish the Coalition for discarding one too many prime ministers. And along the way, an experienced MP or two is going to join the ranks of the lost.