As Australia headed into the 2022 election, the media focused on the usual two-horse race. They ran photos of Scott Morrison in high-vis, and trapped Anthony Albanese with gotcha questions. But in community halls and online forums, suburban streets and country towns, a very different kind of political change was already well underway.

Brimful of enthusiasm, novice candidates, volunteers and campaigners were making it up as they went, with teams often working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, not daring to believe they might succeed. Everyday people in the safest Liberal seats donned teal, pink and purple T-shirts, turned up at railway stations at dawn and danced through shopping centres at lunch time. They wanted real action on climate change, integrity in politics, and gender equality. And they had found strong candidates willing to listen.

Journalist Brook Turner spoke to all the key players and watched the campaigns as they came of age. He tells the inside story of the grassroots movement that has up-ended politics in Australia. He explains how and why a community politics model minted in Cathy McGowan's campaign in rural Victoria has been adopted around the country, fuelled by local fundraising, Climate 200 and disgust with political jobs for the boys. He also examines why the established parties misread the public mood, and why the community activist genie unleashed at the 2022 election is unlikely to go back into the two-party bottle anytime soon.