Late Tuesday in Canberra, while the eyes of the nation were focused on a climate split in the coalition party room, the minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, quietly briefed a selected few journalists on controversial plans to roll-out welfare quarantining nationwide.

Both the timing and manner of the release were highly suspicious -- with the announcement being embargoed to prevent lawyers, human rights advocates and the Greens from scrutinising, let alone criticising, such a seismic shift in Labor social policy.