They say the first one to mention the Nazis automatically loses the argument.
The federal government certainly thinks so, demanding an apology from opposition frontbencher Christopher Pyne after he likened Labor's woes to a film about the downfall of Hitler's Third Reich.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard was forced to reshuffle her frontbench on Saturday - just days after announcing a September 14 election - after senior ministers Chris Evans and Nicola Roxon quit the cabinet.
Coupled with former Labor MP turned cross-bencher Craig Thomson's arrest on fraud charges last week, the ructions sparked new Coalition claims that the government had descended into chaos.
Mr Pyne led the attack yesterday but may have gone too far.
"This government is starting to resemble a scene from Downfall," he told reporters in Adelaide, referring to the 2004 film that depicts Hitler's final days.
The comment had Mr Pyne trending on Twitter and drew a furious response from incoming attorney-general Mark Dreyfus, who is being sworn into his new portfolio today.
"These immature and offensive comments have no place in Australian political debate," Mr Dreyfus said.
"These comments are deeply hurtful to Holocaust survivors. They are deeply hurtful to any right-thinking Australian."
Mr Dreyfus, who is Jewish, called for an apology - even though he has previously likened Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda chief.
Mr Pyne was unrepentant, later saying his comment did not seek to compare Ms Gillard to Hitler. Rather, it was comparing "apposite scenes" from a well-known fictional movie to Labor's dysfunction.
He said it was Mr Dreyfus who should say sorry over his Goebbels comments.
Mr Dreyfus defended his own comment, saying "Goebellian" was a well-known term in modern propaganda theory.
Ms Gillard rallied Labor election candidates yesterday, telling them they were the front-line troops who would take the government's message to the Australian people over the next 7 months.
Though Ms Gillard declined to speak to reporters, newly promoted minister Mike Kelly said the government was focused on the mission ahead.
"I can't think of an election that's been more important in the history of this country - so much is at stake," he said.
Senior frontbencher Anthony Albanese said he did not expect any more Labor ministers to resign before polling day.
He pointed out that nine Coalition MPs had announced their intention to retire at the next election.
Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said reshuffles were a normal part of governing.
Treasurer Wayne Swan seized on comments from shadow assistant treasurer Mathias Cormann indicating that the Coalition would not release its budget costings until after the pre-election financial statement.
"There's nothing unusual about that," Senator Cormann said.
A spokesman for Mr Swan said the Coalition's approach to costings had turned into a farce.