There are times when parliament gets in the way of good policy.
The past sittings fortnight had all the hallmarks of one of those flights where the passenger jet circles above Sydney waiting for instructions and the decision is made to return to Canberra.
The passengers alight, grumpy, disoriented and impatient.
Malcolm Turnbull is attempting to satisfy the grumpy, disoriented and impatient in the coalition party room with an energy policy that meets three needs: keeping a lid on power prices, preventing summer blackouts and meeting Australia's emissions reduction targets under the Paris accord.
In the meantime the prime minister has had to manufacture a fight with Labor to keep the troops motivated.
The tactic takes on greater importance because the coalition - with its one seat majority - has been behind in the polls since just after the 2016 election.
Hence, Turnbull and cabinet colleagues turned the past fortnight of question time into a smoke-bomb tossing contest.
A typical line from the prime minister: "There is no compassion on that side of the House for their household bills and no compassion for the 'blackout bills' they will have to pay for if they don't get action on energy prices."
It was also a schoolyard trick of getting around the Speaker's ruling that the prime minister should use the title of MPs and not slurs such as "Blackout Bill" Shorten.
By the end of the sitting even Turnbull was getting tired of the circular debate, which ping-ponged between questions about power prices and Labor queries about the dangers of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce making ministerial decisions while his eligibility is under a High Court cloud.
"The opposition's tactics committee must be a fascinating place," a weary prime minister joked.
One wit on the opposition benches replied: "You'll soon find out!"
The government now has four smoke-free weeks without parliament sitting to deal with energy policy.
Work is well under way on putting flesh to the bones of what Chief Scientist Alan Finkel described as a "clean energy target", although the name of the policy may not survive.
The key to whether Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg can get it through the cabinet and coalition joint party room is the level at which it is set.
The Finkel report's modelling assumed an intensity of 600kg of CO2 equivalent per megawatt-hour of electricity, however such a level would not favour new "clean coal" technology backed by many coalition MPs as reliable and affordable.
However if the allowable intensity level is lifted high enough to incorporate coal there's a strong prospect Labor, which has given in-principle support to a CET, won't back it in parliament.
Even if the government is able to negotiate it through parliament with the support of Senate crossbenchers such as the climate-sceptic One Nation, there is a danger the policy will only last the life of the Turnbull government.
That would be a worst-case scenario for Australian business and investors who want an enduring policy in order to make investment decisions over decades-long time frames.
As the Australian Industry Group's Innes Willox said this week, the "child-like squabbling" over energy policy must come to an end in coming months.
He sees a rare opportunity in the fact that Labor and the corporate sector broadly support the concept of a clean energy target which is technology neutral.
"We need consensus-building and pragmatism in the pursuit of shared goals: an electricity sector that sustains Australian prosperity and competitiveness as we meet our climate commitments," he says.
Labor MP Stephen Jones gave a glimpse of Turnbull's dilemma in a tweet this week: "Get the smartest scientist in Australia to write an energy policy then swap it for the ideas of the dumbest guys in your party room."
Turnbull and Frydenberg know that allowing the Jones prediction to come true would have dire consequences.
It would throw away a chance to end the energy policy wars.
And it would reinforce voter feeling that Turnbull is kowtowing to the dinosaurs in his party.
Turnbull's success lies in convincing his colleagues good policy is also good politics.