To win the elec­tion, just lose the leader

Warwick Daily News - - TREND - WITH Michael Burlace 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.

PHOTO: DIGITALLY AL­TERED/THINKSTOCK

◗ Those who sold the Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge may just be the peo­ple to push the Op­po­si­tion Leader into power. BILL’S NOT IN POLL

PO­SI­TION:

But a shifty char­ac­ter may

just be able to help – ex­cept he, too, seems to be

out of his depth.

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