Former prime minister John Howard has wasted no time in stamping his authority on plans by the NSW Liberal Party to have him play a crucial role in the “rock star” campaign they plan to run around Premier Gladys Berejiklian for the March 23 state election.
Weekend media reports suggested the Liberals would run a campaign centred on the Premier as its “rock star” with the former prime minister taking a key role in the campaign through public appearances and offering strategic advice.
Other high-profile NSW politicians to play a lead role included state Education Minister Rod Stokes and Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
The exact type of “rock star” role model the Premier would project to voters was not detailed. However, a NSW Liberal Party strategist told The Bug that Mr Howard had called the shots at the first meeting of the party’s central campaign committee.
“Those attending were briefed beforehand on the ‘rock star’ campaign concept and were each asked to bring along an artist’s impression of how they interpreted that concept in relation to the Premier,” the strategist said.
The Bug has obtained copies of that material.
“Some of us wanted to go down the Miley Cyrus path (main picture above) with Gladys delivering a high-energy, raunchy, in-your-face performance on the hustings,” he said.
“Others wanted to go with a high-energy, raunchy, in-your-face performance like Cher’s (pictured right).
“Others in the strategy group put forward ideas for a high-energy, raunchy, in-your-face performance like Madonna’s (pictured below), but from her very early grungy days – not the slightly later phase in which she’d strip off and flash her minge at the drop of a hat.
“However, in the end Howard’s idea of a safe, middle-of-the-road, pretty much vanilla concept modelled on The Seekers won through (pictured further below).”
Asked if Mr Howard had made superior arguments for his concept, the strategist said: “Not at all. Everyone was just sick and tired of him whining on and on and doing that annoying ‘aaah …. aaah….narhhh….aahh…’ thing he always does.
“We all just agreed with him after a while so we could get out of the room and head to our homes.”
When contacted by The Bug the former prime minister was happy to comment on his campaign idea.
“Musically, my parents had brought me up on a strict diet of aaah …. aaah…. narhhh….aahh… Perry Como, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Patti Page and Dean Martin,” Mr Howard said.
“But by the time the 1960s arrived I was aaah …. aaah…. narhhh…. aahh… ready to rebel and embrace rock and even roll, so that’s why I embraced The Seekers.
“You know they say aaah …. aaah….narhhh….aahh… that if you can remember the 60s you weren’t there.
“Well I definitely was there but aaah …. aaah….narhhh….aahh… I’m getting to the stage where I can’t remember anyway.
“But I do recall enjoying The Seekers and their toe-tapping inoffensive songs that made me feel relaxed and comfortable.
“I’ve loved them ever since, and have always thought Judith Durham to be the perfect rock star.
“Besides, to be frank, aaah …. aaah….narhhh….aahh… I’ve never heard of Molly Cyprus and as for Cher, well you’d really need Sonny as well if that were going to work.
“Madonna was never going to be a goer as far as I’m concerned. Thankfully, we aaah …. aaah….narhhh….aahh… have put all that sort of sectarian nonsense behind us in Australians politics, especially inside the broad church that is the Liberal Party.
“The March election may be tough but there’s no need to dredge all that Protestants- versus-Catholics stuff up again,” Mr Howard said.
@gladysB @abcnews #auspoll @brigidglanville