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Campaign coping strategies

We are all in for three months of non-stop, 24/7, stage-managed outrage, reaction, over-reaction, retraction, retraction outrage, non-retraction outrage, etc. Gala headlines slagging-off individuals, unions, politicians, dole bludgers, corporate bludgers, or the whole of Europe will be mere wallpaper behind arguments that we will all wish we had never had or heard. Once again our press will run amok. Once again we will endure truckloads of fascicle nonsense dressed as political discussion. For weeks at a time confected outrage will blanket every waking moment of our communal awareness. Instantly we will all know a great many things that we never wanted to know and never knew that we didn’t want to know. But this time it will be different. It will stretch away into the far distance for day after day after day.

Every one of you have to WAKE UP RIGHT NOW. Realise that you only have a few precious hours left in which to sketch out some definite plans. Drastic measures are warranted. We are all moving out of our social comfort zone and into the unknown. For fifteen weeks a dark pall of continuous election coverage will descend upon our nation. It is probable that not all of us will make it out the other side in one piece. Those of us who have a handy checklist or coping strategy prepared beforehand are far less likely to suffer significant psychological or emotional damage. If you are already feeling a bit thin then I am afraid that, in this instance, blind panic may be the only appropriate response.

Any minute our entire social landscape will once again be overrun with celebrities pretending to be journalists and journalists pretending to be celebrities. Our meek and mild journalists will all instantly be transformed from fearful and careful arbiters of truth into no-nonsense, hard-hitting, pencil chewing assassins, all looking to metaphorically rip the leg off any handy candidate and use it to bludgeon the truth out of them. Suddenly bland candidates, who had no discernible view about any subject at all during pre-selection, will start to emulate ‘the most interesting man in the world’ and begin passing out pictures of their debauchery in a tent during a lion hunt in South Africa.

And at every turn there will be candidates, events, conferences, debates, passion, and gallons of justifiable outrage, plus ever more BANNER HEADLINES. For FIFTEEN WEEKS! But do not despair. There are tried and true ways of coping with this sort of widespread social mania.

A holiday might work. If you feel you have a book in you then now might be just the time to lock the study door and begin scribbling. As for the rest of us? More plebeian coping strategies are also available. First and foremost don’t forget those simple things like alcohol, drugs, extreme sports, yoga, hiding away in dark cafés, and/or paragliding. (Some more distressed individuals may even want to employ several of these strategies simultaneously).

One emergency coping strategy is to simply assess every bit of election coverage in terms of its raw comedy potential. After all, for anyone interested in satire, or improvisational, or skit comedy, then a modern election campaign in Australia is a gold mine. So when the coverage starts to become so unbearable that you feel on the verge of mowing the lawn (again), or even moving to someplace where politics might make some sort of sense, then why not try one of these ‘Election Campaign Considered as Comedy Coping Strategies’.

#1. Pretend the Press Conference you are watching is actually a comedy impro session and try and work out what the comedian was told to do.

i.e. You are a politician at a press conference and:

  1. you are there to announce that you are going to release a policy but you are not allowed to tell anyone what the policy is or when it will be released,
  2. you are lying but you are a bad liar and so everybody knows you are lying,
  3. you have to praise someone that you hate so badly that you find it difficult to mention their name without wincing,
  4. you only called the press conference because you are in a really bad mood and wanted to argue with someone but you don’t actually want to say anything about anything,
  5. you answer every question you are asked with a well crafted answer to an entirely different question.


#2. Pretend you are a journalist and you are able to ask the candidate just one question on behalf of everyday Australians before the ‘Absolute Truth’ force-field shuts down. What do you ask?


  1. Who do you really work for?
  2. Are you a closeted and repressed homosexual?
  3. Are you acting on the advice of your tax accountant?
  4. How much stuff have you really got squirreled away?
  5. What do you really think?


#3. Mentally replace any party name mentioned with the ‘crazy loonies’, or the ‘moss-hugging sycophantic cry-babies’, or the ‘very very very silly party’ or any other vacuous and insulting title you might be able to dream up. Simultaneously it assists if you mentally re-label every topic mentioned as ‘talking point one’, ‘talking point two’ etc. This helps in firmly categorising nonsense as nonsense and getting it out of your consciousness fairly efficiently.

#4. Try and compose the teletext that would be running on the little title bar under the press conference/event if the person doing the typing was both drunk and being brutally honest.

#5. Work up a list of Stereotypical Federal Election Campaign Events and when you see one of them you can mentally tick it off your list and then score the participants on a scale of 1 to 10 on their ability to slavishly adhere to the stereotype.

i.e. Look for standout performances in:

  1. Standard Campaign launch with PM.
  2. Campaign launch with ‘Our next Prime Minister’.
  3. The ‘Error in the costings’ attack by Ministerial tagteam press conference.
  4. The get your head into the media re-announcement of a vague policy idea in a badly attended conference.
  5. The categorically wronged and totally misrepresented but I am now pulling out of the campaign and retiring to my garden anyway press conference
  6. The hugely overproduced and overly long party campaign launch in the second last week because we are drowning in public event.
  7. The lame political attack ad.
  8. The lame political counter-attack ad that gets pulled really quickly.
  9. The PM in a fruit shop photo op.
  10. The mall walkthrough and mingle.
  11. The journalist becomes the story story.


We are embarking on a long journey through unmapped territory and many of us are entirely ill-equipped for the many weeks of Turnbull, Pyne, Lambie, Leyonhjelm, Ricky Stewart, and Bill Shorten that stretch ahead. People will wake up screaming in the night. Young children will wonder at the distress of their parents. Pets will be disturbed and a great many marital arguments will cause otherwise great men to sleep in uncomfortable positions in odd locations. All for no actual reason. So in the coming weeks, in your travels, be nice to a stranger. Pat a dog. Comfort one of our sobbing children. Remember we once lived in a happy prosperous land where people were nice and everyone was not always snarling at each other and complaining.

But most importantly you must immediately grasp this opportunity to plan for and brace yourself against the coming onslaught. Prepare for our long dark disheartening electoral winter. Do some emotional push-ups. Write out a list of things you pledge to utterly ignore. Lay in a massive stock of comedic interpretations. And become prepared to laugh at everything and anything, at the drop of a hat. Then you may yet survive the coming communal emotional maelstrom.

Personally I doubt if I have even the faintest chance of emerging as anything less than a blubbering mess. Fear is warranted. A massive and seemingly eternal election campaign has broken out and has begun to blanket the known earth with its baleful gloom. Woe betide the citizen who is ill-prepared. May God help us all.


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  1. Michael Taylor

    Love it!

  2. Douglas Pye

    Accurate commentary! … sadly …. sickly … so! This will come to pass … simply to confuse, confound & corrupt any real essence of truth! … whilst injecting .. $ $ ACRES $ $ … into Media and Advertising industries! …..’nuf sed ? ! …

  3. Phil

    So true – humour will save the day!!

    Just tried to get through the latest 7.30 report on ABC iView with Leigh Sales and Turnbull. The PM is a dead set extraordinary waffler – all theatrics and arrogant condescension – and good grief what condescension. First I tried muting when he waffled until Leigh tried to gain an opening then I’d un-mute only to have him shut her down for another round of gesticulating waffle. I gave up about half way through since he was using the interview purely to waffle and put the interviewer into her ‘place’ – he seems to relish this just as Abbott did – he’s all theatrics and no substance.

    Turnbull gets praise from many quarters for his performances, his so-called brilliance, erudition and loquacity – but seriously, I think those blinded dears making the call need reeducating in the fine arts of rhetoric and speech. I find him hesitant in response, never fully up to vocal speed with his thoughts, evasive and repeatedly trying to reset his own narrative flow when he realises he’s taking a wrong verbal turn.

    To me, he’s a fraud – a serial narcissist who has fallen hopelessly in love with the image he sees and hears projected in the sycophantic media.

  4. Ken Butler

    This election will be won on the internet not in the papers.

  5. bobrafto

    We are embarking on a long journey through unmapped territory…..

    yea, it all started when Abbott got elected.

  6. Felicitas

    Hear Hear Phil, That was my take on our ‘superb-talker-leader’ when I heard him a week or two ago, and I must say I was astonished. For someone who is made out to be such a brilliant speaker, I found him maudlin, condescending, evasive, unprepared and in no way deserving of the ‘great’ moniker. In fact, my 9-year-old grand-daughter, giving a speech at her primary school made more cogent, articulate and informative points and delivered them in a more robust style than anything I’ve heard from our Mal.

  7. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Malcolm revealed his oral weaknesses in the Leigh Sales interview because he was disjointed in his speech when he couldn’t find the right words.

    Sales suggested he come back and he agreed to which she then said it could be every week. If that’s the case, get prepared for more waffle, condescension, lots of blah and no content.

    I like Ken Butler’s observation that the election will be won on the internet. I take comfort in the thought that our combined discourses are causing discomfort to the LNP and the lazy journos who don’t expose the negative consequences of this inept LNP mismanagement.

    We have 100 days to whip these idiots into oblivion. Keep building up the pressure on them.

  8. Gangey1959

    Apparently our much celebrated pm is a lawyer.
    Can you imagine him in Court ? His ‘closing argument’, if the case ever got that far and hadn’t been cancelled already due to boredom, would go on forever, and would end up with a guilty verdict from the jury out of pure revenge for making them listen to his crap.
    And we are going to have 3ish months of this shite.
    When you look at the picture at the top, what is the chinese for “Baby. Put down that politician. You don’t know where he’s been.”

  9. diannaart

    Indeed we must gird our loins (yes, I know) and stiffen our backs, upper lips or simply run away screaming.

    List of things we won’t hear:

    1. Details of action to mitigate Climate Change
    2. Free primary, secondary and tertiary education for all
    3. Nationwide inclusive plan for public transport
    4. Nationwide inclusive plan for transport of produce that won’t entail ridiculous hours by truckies.
    5. Nationwide inclusive plan for anything really – a divided nation is a controlled nation.
    6. No-strings parental leave for children of any age.

    7. Tony Abbott declares he is retiring to spend more time with his family.

  10. Sir ScotchMistery

    OMFG that poor little baby.

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