Naturally, opinion is divided over the consequences of yesterday's defeat of the government on the medical evacuation bill. For the right, the defeat of the government was really a victory for Scott Morrison, opening the way to an election triumph over Labor on the back of a 2001-style border security election campaign. For the left, what is a relatively minor tweak to the process for approving medical evacuations is a triumph of compassion and decency in our otherwise blighted and racist asylum seeker policy.

What is agreed by all, and the media too, is that yesterday was of immense significance. But what if it's not? What if most voters don't have anything like the level of interest in asylum seekers that either the left or the right, or the media, thinks they should have?