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Pragmatism over purity as Labor goes for compromise at all costs

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There was a fair bit of eye-rolling at Labor's national conference when Scott Morrison tried to overshadow proceedings by announcing a new governor-general.

And they laughed when the sex scandal surrounding Andrew Broad provided a different kind of distraction.

"We are ready": Labor leader Bill Shorten used the conference to cement unity.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

But the people doing their best to keep Labor's national conference out of the headlines were Labor themselves.

Much work was done behind the scenes between negotiators to strike deals on contentious policy matters and prevent divisive and potentially dangerous fights on the conference floor.

It's a rare occasion on which Labor MPs don't have to toe the party line: this is where the party line is formed,........

© The Age