Here's how Malcolm Turnbull and his brains trust thought the last three weeks would go, roughly: two parliamentary weeks to solidify what the press gallery had decided was the government's good start to the year, laud the government's success in presiding over strong job creation and shift the focus to Bill Shorten, whose home state is plagued by factional thuggery and in-fighting.

Then he'd fly to the US with the elite of Australia's business community to be photographed in statesmanlike poses with Donald Trump, talking about how company tax cuts are fantastic, putting pressure on Senate crossbenchers to wave through the government's $64 billion corporate tax cuts and putting Labor's anti-business attitude in the spotlight. The gallery's senior journalists, who've travelled to the US to cover the trip, will write plenty of copy about the importance of Turnbull's meeting with Trump, if only to justify the cost of flying them there in an ever-more straitened media industry.