Kenny Rogers' The Gambler (Image: United Artists)

Yesterday, in the midst of the Facebook news-cancelling brouhaha, one question kept circling around: why is the federal government so god-awful terrible at cutting deals?

Too much of federal politics is captured by the haloed memory of that grand Howard Tampa declaration of 2001: “We decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they come". A Churchillian assertion of national sovereignty. It probably won the Libs the election that year.

Last month Prime Minister Scott Morrison took a similar (albeit mangled) tilt at the sovereignty windmill in response to Google’s threat to withdraw search from Australia: "People who want to work with that, in Australia, you're very welcome, but we don't respond to threats".