Liberal Party Headquarters, May 20th
Strategy Meeting. Barry and Harry, two strategists are meeting after the re-election of the Coalition Government.
Barry – Morning, how you feeling?
Harry – Ok, quite a victory party, wasn’t it?
Barry – Yeah, I didn’t really expect Scomo to pull it off, but there ya go!
Harry – What do you mean, Scomo? I’m the one who’s been working on strategy for the past few years! He just came along and reaped the rewards from all my brilliant work.
Barry – Yeah, but he still had to deliver, didn’t he? It could have still all gone pear-shaped if he hadn’t run such a great campaign.
Harry – Great campaign? What was so hard about reminding people that Shorten’s first name was “Bill” and linking it to the bills people have to pay? “Electricity Bill” remember that one. That was mine too.
Barry – Yeah, but the great strength of the campaign was reminding people how Labor was likely to send us into further debt just after we’ve got everything under control, even though we haven’t.
Harry – Great strength? Bullshit! Liberal leaders have been blaming Labor for everything ever since Whitlam was elected and we managed to blame him for the oil shocks of the seventies. That’s just par for the course. The trick is making people believe it.
Barry – Well, don’t we have a problem now? I mean, Bill’s gone. We’ll have to come up with a whole new strategy. It won’t be as easy to link the new leader’s name to debt and spending. I mean there’s not much you can do with Tanya or Chris or Anthony… Although if it’s Chris, we could try: “If you chose Bowen, you’ll end up owin’!”
Harry – Ha, that’s the least of our worries. The problem is that now that we’ve been re-elected by telling everybody how good things are, how do we tell them that a surplus would be economically irresponsible because the economy is tanking?
Barry – But isn’t a surplus the result of good economic management?
Harry – Only if you’re trying to take money out of the community because the economy is overheating. When growth is more anaemic than a haemophiliac in a roomful of vampires, you need to be putting money in.
Barry – Sort of like Labor did in the GFC.
Harry – Exactly. So what are we going to do?
Barry – Blame Labor for talking down the economy?
Harry – Good idea. But I’ve got an even better one. I’ll contact a few of the boys at Sky News…
Barry – That’s a bit sexist. What about the girls?
Harry – Good one. Love your sense of humour.
Barry – No, I was being serious. I meant Peta Credlin and that other one… what’s her name?
Harry – Anyway, I’ll get on to a few of our press mates and tell them to focus on whether Labor’s going to support our mandate or not. You know, lots of articles about how their blocking the will of the people and all that.
Barry – So they shouldn’t oppose all the policies that we took to the election like…um, the… um. What policies did we take to the election?
Harry – Don’t elect Labor!
Barry – Yeah, well they can’t really stand in the way of that one.
Harry – Don’t make Bill Shorten PM!
Barry – I think they’ll all be right behind that one now.
Harry – There were the tax cuts, Adani and nuclear power.
Barry – We’ve already approved Adani and didn’t Morrison say that the Labor Party were using a desperate scare campaign when they said we’d introduce nuclear power.
Harry – Doesn’t matter, he never said that he wouldn’t do it. Just that it was a sign of Labor’s desperation.
Barry – Still it’s not much, is it?
Harry – Look, whichever way it goes we can still use the Adani strategy with the tax cuts.
Barry – The Adani strategy.
Harry – Yeah, get the media to stick them between a rock and hard place. If Labor had come out and opposed Adani, we would’ve attacked them on jobs and being captive to The Greens, but if they’d backed Adani we could have just let The Greens cannibalise them from the left by telling everyone that there’s no essential difference between the two major parties. In the end, they sat on the fence and lost out both ways.
Barry – But can that work again?
Harry – Yep, I reckon we can bully Labor into voting for them, then when the Budget’s in deficit, we can blame Labor for voting for the tax cuts.
Barry – Surely that wouldn’t work. I mean, they’re our tax cuts.
Harry – Hey, just look at what happened after the AFP raids. More people blamed Labor for supporting the legislation that enabled it, than blamed us for creating it.
Barry – There’s just one problem with that.
Harry – What’s that?
Barry – The AFP raids haven’t happened yet. It’s only May 20th.
Harry – Don’t worry. Everything’s so predictable. We’ll get the support of the cross-bench in the Senate, Labor will capitulate so that they can’t be accused of opposing tax cuts at the next election and then all those who thought this just makes inequality worse, will direct their anger at Labor and Scott will win the first Newspoll in three years.
Barry – It seems unbelievable. How can Labor keep getting the blame for the things we do?
Harry – It’s a mystery, but some things just seem to work no matter how many times you try them… Well, that was a good day’s work. Shall we take an early lunch?
Barry – Why not?
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