Good evening, we’re very lucky to have someone from the Liberal Party to interview. They’ve agreed to be interviewed on the condition that I don’t ask any questions on what exactly their Strong Economic Plan is and that I don’t reveal their name. Good evening, Lee Kerr (not his real name but a homonym… which is a word that sounds the same but has a different meaning… rather like Tony Abbott’s promises at the 2013 election.)
Lee: Good evening, I’d like to add the condition that you don’t mention Tony Abbott.
Me: Because he’s no longer important.
Lee: No, because you may ask me how long after the election we’ll reinstall him as PM and there’s no way I can answer that!
Me: Is that because if you say that you won’t, the very fact that you’re denying it may give the story legs?
Lee: No, it’s because we don’t know how many seats Malcolm will lose and if he only loses a few we may have to wait until Christmas when nobody’s paying attention.
Me: Right, well I really wanted to ask you about the plebiscite on gay marriage. With so much focus on the need for slashing budgets and cutbacks to all sorts of worthwhile projects, how can you justify spending upwards of $160 million on a plebiscite?
Lee: So you’re against democracy? You don’t want the Australian people to have a say?
Me: No, I just wonder why we need a vote on this issue when so many others…
Lee: The government makes no apology for its determination to give everyone a say.
Me: Yes, but why this particular issue. I mean aren’t you worried that it’ll lead to a nasty, homophobic campaign which’ll be awful for the LGBTI community?
Lee: Not at all, we have every confidence that the debate will be civil and respectful.
Me: Then why were some Christian groups asking for the debate to be exempt from vilification laws?
Lee: Look, I’m not going to sit here and let you attack Christians like that. As Scott Morrison pointed out, people are trying to use political correctness to stop debate and I won’t allow it. You’re forbidden for saying anything about Christians.
Me: Sorry, I was just pointing out a fact, I wasn’t judging it in any way.
Lee: That’s the sort of dog-whistling that you lefties are always doing!
Me: But back to the question.
Lee: I’ve answered your question.
Me: I don’t think you have.
Lee: Well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.
Me: Ok, so you’re committed to having a plebiscite where the people decide whether to allow gay marriage.
Lee: No, we’re committed to having a plebiscite where people get to have a say. Then, as Mr Turnbull pointed out today, it’ll be time for Parliament to vote on the issue and the Liberals to allow a conscience vote.
Me: I’m confused. If Parliament’s just going to vote on it without being committed to implementing the plebiscite result, then why both with the plebiscite at all?
Lee: Look I answered that before when I told you that Tony Abbott would never ever be Prime Minister again.
Me: You never said that!
Lee: Probably just as well, given the way things are going to turn out. That’d be the sort of clip that they’d play over and over every few years like John Howard’s “never ever” on the GST.
Me: Or Malcolm’s “never ever” on Medicare?
Lee: You’re just a victim of Shorten’s lie. Let me emphasis that we have no plan to privatise Medicare. Not only do we have no plan for Medicare, we have no plan on most of the things we’re be accused of planning. This suggestion that we have a plan for anything is one of the biggest lies of any election campaign.
Me: Does that include your Strong Economic Plan?
Lee: Right! This interview is over. You expressly agreed that you wouldn’t ask about that.
Lee: This is the last time I give you the scoop on anything.
Me: Like the one about it all being decided that Malcolm would replace Abbott and then quietly disappear after the election?
Lee: I never gave you that scoop. That was Christopher Pyne…
Me: Don’t be implausible. As if Pyne has any idea what’s going on…