Protesters are seen at the front entrance of the Labor Party National Conference in Adelaide (Image: AAP/Kelly Barnes)

Labor received a blessing in disguise in the form of a delayed national conference this week. Only #auspol diehards were likely to still be paying attention so close to Christmas, and if the party downplayed their divisions effectively it could end the year merrily on high.

Accordingly, press gallery veteran Michelle Grattan (who has seen her fair share of these affairs) said the conference felt like it was “managed to within an inch of its life”. But, despite those best efforts, widely-reported interruptions to Bill Shorten’s keynote on the first day shook organisers and security.