To its credit, Labor under Bill Shorten has adopted a stance of policy bravery on economics. Time and again it led the debate on politically difficult issues, or in areas considered untouchable by politicians. It dragged the government kicking and screaming to reform on superannuation tax concessions. It went to an election promising not one but two carbon pricing schemes and negative gearing and capital gains tax changes. And far from it being a political suicide note, it came within a couple of seats of winning.

On national security, however, Labor under Shorten has made a different calculation. It has decided that not merely is discretion the better part of valour but that it must not allow even a glimmer of daylight between itself and the Coalition on the relentless crackdown by the latter on basic civil rights. That applied under Abbott. It applies even more under Turnbull.