The timing of Attorney-General George Brandis' decision to drop plans to allow metadata to be accessed during civil lawsuits on issues like piracy has more to do with the politics than seeing the light.

Late on Thursday, just before many people kicked off for a long Easter weekend, Brandis quietly announced that the government had dropped plans to allow all the data that telecommunications companies are retaining -- purely as part of the mandatory data retention regime -- to be accessible under civil lawsuits.