News that the Coalition aims to give police the power to demand ID papers at airports came as a significant blow to Australian civil rights last week.

Defence is, after all, a Liberal issue, and when you look at what Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has done with the judiciary, people seeking asylum, and certain failed crackdowns on visa fraud, giving police the power to demand ID without proper cause just sounded like another step in the slow march to inevitable, absolute surveillance.

What was shocking was how little opposition Dutton and Co faced. Because even in an election year, and with both legal and security experts criticising the new powers as authoritarian, unnecessary and likely to increase racial profiling, Labor leader Bill Shorten couldn’t muster more than “well do you have the money to continue eroding civil rights?” as a response.