As the government prepares a budget that is reportedly set to entice older voters through guarantees on tax rates for superannuation, it is increasingly clear that generational conflict will be a defining motif of the next federal election.

With precious little else going right for it, it comes as no surprise that the Turnbull government should conclude that Labor's risky gambit on dividend imputation presents too good an opportunity to pass up. This was foreshadowed during the Batman byelection campaign, when some in the government could be heard sharpening their rhetoric in anticipation of a rebuff to Labor and its new showpiece policy.