As a flood of Labor MPs engulfed Rockingham election booths on Saturday, Premier Roger Cook’s advice was likely ringing in their ears. Following explosively bad polling for Labor last week, the Premier had advised Labor to “remain humble”, while other Labor MPs said the numbers were a “wake up call”. If so, then the Rockingham by-election was the alarm clock equivalent of a bucket of ice water hitting the Government. The 33 per cent swing against Labor’s primary vote, reducing the Government’s once safest seat to 15 per cent, gives us a clearer picture of how the 2025 election will be fought. Not only does the swing take into account the loss of Mark McGowan locally in Rockingham — it is our first read of where the minds of voters who elected Labor in both 2017 and 2021 are at post the former Premier’s resignation. McGowan’s absence means MPs need to work to build their own local profiles, rather than lean on the leader. The numbers also paint a dark picture for Labor’s chances in the Upper House, even if they are re-elected in March 2025, left with fewer than half its current 23. But the news was not all rosy for the Liberals. Fewer than one in five voters voted first for the alternative government — something Libby Mettam cannot ignore or attempt to claim glory with. Of the 20 per cent swing towards the Liberals Mettam was celebrating yesterday, a majority of it came through preferences which were evenly split between the two major parties. If the Liberals were hoping to just ride the wave back into Government in 2025, this result shows there is a lot of work to be done and voters to convince the party is ready for the front bench.