Scott Morrison covid-19
(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

While ordinary Australians were worrying about -- or taking schadenfreude from -- the growing viral outbreak in Victoria last week, the political class stopped to engage in some tea leaf-reading about a by-election in rural NSW.

Eden-Monaro ended up being won -- to the chagrin of many in the press gallery and News Corp -- by Labor’s Kristy McBain over Liberal climate denialist Fiona Kotvojs, in what was billed as a test for Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

Having passed that test, Albanese will have others set by political journalists. Like Julia Gillard, who was forever facing “tests” and entering “crucial periods”, there’ll always be another hurdle he’ll have to clear.