Saturday's WA senate election was a disaster for the ALP.
Spin it anyway you want but 21% of the vote, just five points ahead of the Greens, looks to me like a threshold event.
Everyone knows that the ALP senate tickets are full of union and party hacks.
Most of the time the voters don't get to see the poor quality of the ALP's upper house representation.
The Obeid episode in NSW has changed that.
So has the Joe Bullock fiasco in WA.
It is hard to even imagine why Bullock is a member of the ALP, let alone topping its Senate ticket.
Six decades after the split that kept labor out of office nationally, sectarianism is alive and well in some pockets of the labor movement.
Specifically, the moribund Shop, Distributive and Allied industries union (the SDA).
The SDA has one mission in politics and that is to pursue the Catholic Church's unhealthy obsession with sex.
Everyone with any brains inside or close to the ALP knows that the blue collar ownership of the party has outlived its usefulness.
That ownership, which sees affiliated union officials divvy up federal and state upper house spots among themselves, is a dangerous joke.
It fostered corruption in NSW.
Now, it has contributed to a bad result in WA.
The ALP has had lots of reports (and books and papers) all pointing to the need to make the party more representative of its voter base.
People like John Faulkner have tried and despaired.
People like Sam Dastyari have championed reform, and then plucked an unrepresentative plum for themselves.
Paul Howes has recently recanted his long adherence to the mythology that the ALP is best left in the hands of a few officials from some blue collar unions.
The new selection processes for the federal leadership were a plus for the party.
And the recent community pre-selections in NSW seem to have gone well.
Now Shorten has backed extending these processes to state leadership ballots.
Shorten has also proposed abolishing the requirement that ALP members be members of a union.
That potentially opens up the party to the 80% of the population currently excluded.
But it doesn't really.
Not until those members are given the right to pre-select upper house candidates.
Up until then it is a pointless charade.
Upper house pre-selections are the rubicon.
I suspect if Shorten is to make it to the Lodge he, like many before him, must first take on his own party.
History is moving towards the creation of a new centre left party in Australia.
Either by the re-invention of the ALP as a party supportive of unions but not owned by them.
Or to the replacement of the ALP by a new party, possibly centred around the Greens.
Alea iacta est.