To win the elec­tion, just lose the leader

Life & Style Weekend - - TREND - Pol­lie Tick­led is a satir­i­cal col­umn.

HE WAS look­ing glum at an out­door restau­rant. “What’s up?”

“My boss just took on the worst job in the world – mar­ket­ing fed­eral La­bor.” He took a pull on his Ha­vana and

ex­haled smoke into the fug com­ing from the traf­fic jam next to us as I sank into the empty chair. “But I heard about some crims who sold Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge to some­one over­seas and I felt bet­ter. Only con artists

that good would be able to get Bill Shorten into gov­ern­ment. “It’s been said many times that op­po­si­tions don’t win

elec­tions, gov­ern­ments lose them.

“The next Fed­eral Elec­tion pits un­electable Turn­bull against un­sellable Shorten and I have to pro­mote an Op­po­si­tion that’s los­ing an elec­tion that should be theirs in a walkover.”

He blew more smoke. Or was it steam? “Let’s look at the gov­ern­ing party. First, they aren’t gov­ern­ing. They can’t get most

of their agenda passed be­cause it’s un­wel­come in much of the elec­torate and in large chunks of par­lia­ment. Sec­ond, they aren’t a party but a bunch of fac­tions, each es­sen­tially a mi­nor party.” Now I was con­fused. “Are you talk­ing about the Coali­tion or

La­bor?”

“In­deed, I have trou­ble telling which is do­ing a worse job of it.

It was dif­fer­ent un­der La­bor. Bet­ter with Gil­lard be­cause she could at least get co-op­er­a­tion from non-La­bor mem­bers. But

with Rudd be­fore her and af­ter her, it was dif­fi­cult to get co­op­er­a­tion within the party, let alone out­side it. When Ab­bott

fi­nally rid us of Rudd, we again had a PM who was not will­ing to ne­go­ti­ate. And nei­ther he nor Turn­bull can get co­op­er­a­tion

within the party. “Turn­bull has made mil­lions from greas­ing the deals of big busi­ness, so the Coali­tion ought to be mov­ing for­ward. But Turn­bull can’t man­age his fac­tions, can’t make a de­ci­sion and

tries to bully his way through cross­bench op­po­si­tion.

“Iron­i­cally, he has more suc­cess with La­bor – thus fall­ing into

the old pat­tern of keep­ing the two-party sys­tem go­ing, even as it crum­bles and parts flake off. I wish I could I say ‘as its flakes de­part’, but they don’t. “So I con­tacted the mas­ter­minds who sold the Har­bour Bridge and told them my dilemma. They were happy with the terms,

sev­eral mil­lion in union con­tri­bu­tions paid di­rect in bit­coin and I ar­ranged a meet­ing here with their leader – he came masked

like The Phantom. “But then it all fell apart. They thought I wanted Shorten sold. Re­ally sold. Like the Har­bour Bridge. Gone for­ever. “Not a bad idea. But some­one might find him and bring him back. And the buyer might want their money back.

“When I said I wanted them to con­vince the peo­ple to vote for Shorten, he got in­de­ci­sive and started hedg­ing and try­ing to get

me to pay more. Just be­fore you ar­rived I pulled the plug. No money changed hands. “It was only af­ter I saw him get into the limo that I re­alised who he sounded like. Turn­bull. And he got into the PM’s Com­car. If there’s a deal that in­volves money, he’s into it. If it in­volves

de­liv­er­ing any­thing, for­get it.

“So I’m stuck with Shorten. Any­one need a sock pup­pet?”

If there’s a deal that in­volves money, he’s into it. If it in­volves de­liv­er­ing any­thing, for­get it.

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