FOR a long time, Australian federal politics has been about as nasty as it could get. Politicians of all stripes appeared more interested in dragging down opponents and rivals than pursuing that often mentioned but rarely defined goal - the public interest.
And for a long time, the intensity of the 24-hour news cycle was blamed for the dreadful lows in behaviour that the supposedly insatiable media outlets had revealed.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison did his best to shift the conversation by dismissing any question he preferred not to answer as interesting only to the "Canberra bubble".
It didn't work, of course, and only made the bubble itself a subject of inspection.
Suddenly, however, politics in Australia has had an outbreak of civility, as it, like virtually every other aspect of daily life, is turned on its head by the coronavirus.
Reporting is more intense than ever, so maybe it was not the media, but politicians with too much time on their hands in an era of policy vacuum, that blew the bubble until it became the proverbial elephant in the room.
Now, with leaders at all levels of government having to truly lead their people, expectations have changed. For the most part, it seems, our derided leaders, regardless of their political allegiances, are rising to the occasion.
Whether it's his heart-on-sleeve religiosity, his emergence from the Turnbull car-crash or his occasionally sneering demeanour, Mr Morrison has not, until now, been an easy prime minister to like.
Maybe Labor leader Anthony Albanese has been rendered invisible because oppositions are generally on a hiding to nothing in times of crisis, but Mr Morrison has taken charge of Australia's COVID-19 response with a grasp of leadership that had previously eluded him.
The trite slogans have disappeared from his speeches, and he has begun to exude at least a modicum of the trustworthy authority that a troubled population craves when the going is tough.
In ordinary times, any one of yesterday's announcements - the federal budget being pushed back to October, a six-month loan repayment holiday for small business, and the national scrapping of NAPLAN exams - would be major stories in themselves.
Instead, they are simply bricks in a much larger wall that Australia is building to protect itself from an invisible foe. And however we describe these times, they are anything but ordinary.
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to ensure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists, you can subscribe here