(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

When Labor announced its energy package roughly six months ahead of the election, accusations of cynicism and surrender abounded.

Labor, critics said, had sold out. Instead of committing to its proposed 2016 emissions trading scheme, it just revamped Malcolm Turnbull's National Energy Guarantee. But the accusations were offset by relief that something, anything might be done to fill Australia’s policy vacuum -- even if that meant circumventing parliament with $15 billion of direct action.