Bill Shorten energy policy
(Image: AAP/Paul Braven)

Should Labor prevail in this election -- which, thanks to a week of public holidays, currently hangs somewhere between phoney war and shooting match -- then Bill Shorten will continue his run as one of the luckiest men alive. That is not because he is not capable or intelligent, but because he is squeezing in at the very end of a historical period when a figure like Bill Shorten is acceptable as the "natural" candidate of a progressive political party.

Across the world, the "long compromise" in progressive politics is falling apart. The notion that left elements of such parties should accept a centrist and safe figure for the purposes of electability, in exchange for a few limited policy wins, is going out the door.