The government has manoeuvred itself into a problematic position on national security, propelled by ego and the weakness of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's position.

From London, the prime minister has again left the door open to a major shake-up of institutional arrangements for Australia's security agencies, referring positively to the British "integrated Home Office ... in which they have all of their domestic security agencies -- MI5, police and border protection, immigration -- is all part of that."