The National Party has made a dramatic move to boost the image of its federal leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in the lead-up to the expected May federal election.
Fighting persistent low approval and recognition levels among voters, the Nationals are pinning their hopes on sales of the new paperback Who’s That Joker: A collection of the wit of Michael McCormack to lift his stocks among voters.
A senior National Party insider told The Bug: “We’ve got nothing to lose. Michael tries hard but having to be the leader following Barnaby Joyce was always going to be tough.
“All the polling showed voters had no trouble recognising Barnaby when he was leader and he scored highly on a range of metrics. But sadly it all turned to shit so quickly when his personal life exploded onto the front pages.
“Then Mitchell was shoehorned in as the new National Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister and unfortunately nobody had ever heard of him. That hasn’t changed in almost 12 months since he’s had the job.
“As National Party leader and Deputy PM, Milton doesn’t rate a blip on metrics such as recognition, honesty, likeability, policy direction, and the like, although he does score highly on Truss,” the insider said.
Who’s That Joker? has been complied by the National Party after a call for hilarious anecdotes was made to all of its MPs, officials, and branch members.
Here are just a few of the top tales from the book:
During the first Cabinet meeting he attended as National Party leader, one Minister was addressing his lengthy and detailed, but not urgent, submission when the then PM Malcolm Turnbull, interjected: “Perhaps we could hold this over and continue discussing it again next week.” Quick as a flash, Michael McCormack quipped: “Good idea.”
Regional visits are a chance to get out and meet the real Australians. On one such visit to Albany in WA a local resident approached the Deputy PM saying: “Who are you?” Quick as a flash, Michael McCormack quipped: “I’m Michael McCormack. Pleased to meet you.”
The Deputy Prime Minister usually takes time out to buy sandwiches from local snack bars in towns he visits. On one occasion in Mount Isa in Western Queensland the attendant behind the counter asked him: “What can I get for you?” Quick as a flash, Michael McCormack quipped: “A cheese and tomato sandwich please.”
In October 2018 the Deputy PM was guest speaker at a National Party fundraiser in Orbost, Victoria. The master of ceremonies introduced him and, as the audience’s applause died down, quick as a flash Michael McCormack quipped: “Good evening.”
Waiting in the wings to walk on stage to present prizes at a debutantes’ ball at the Dubbo RSL shortly after becoming party leader, the Deputy PM asked the stage manager for the time. When told it was 9.45pm, quick as a flash Michael McCormack quipped: “Thanks.”
The 16-page Who’s That Joker: A collection of the wit of Michael McCormack selling at $49.95 (inc GST) is expected to be available soon in all good book stores or by post from the National Party.
“We’re kicking ourselves that we didn’t think of this sooner because we missed the Christmas gift market,” the National Party insider said. “It would have been an ideal stocking stuffer.”