The decision by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to use a muscle-bound 4WD recreational vehicle to visit the Governor-General this morning to launch the 2019 election campaign was both practical and symbolic, political experts say.
Practical, because in an election to be fought with fairness as a key issue, it looked much better for the PM to be seen in a blokey, weekend offroader as he drove himself out to Yarralumla than sitting in the back of the existing C1, a fancy overpriced, topline BMW limousine.
Symbolic, because the LNP has been greatly buoyed by internal polling that shows its savage attacks this week on Bill Shorten’s policy that 50% of all vehicles sold by 2030 should be electric are working a treat.
And it’s largely as a result of the growing fears among ordinary Australians that their much-loved vehicles such as the one the PM used this morning will be taken off them that the federal Liberal Party has suddenly found itself fully cashed up and ready to fight the federal campaign – and it’s all thanks to Cash.
Michaela Cash, that is, the government’s charismatic and much loved minister for small and family business.
Broke only last week and desperately wondering how to maintain campaign momentum once the $200 million, taxpayer-funded advertising blitz ended with today’s proroguing of Parliament, the Liberals are now awash with funds, and it’s all due to a clever marketing idea from the firebrand West Australian senator (pictured).
Although it was only launched late last week, the Michaelia Clamp for securing the wheels of SUVs, utes and trucks is being snapped up by ordinary suburban dwellers as well as tradies and rural producers across Australia faster than a Chinese mate of Peter Dutton’s can get the basic model shipped from a factory near Beijing.
The Bug understands tens of thousands of the clamps have already been ordered, getting the Liberals out of the red and into the deep blue financially.
Its success explains why Prime Minister Morrison, Senator Cash and other senior ministers have continued their vicious assault this week on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s push for 50% of all new vehicle sales by 2030 to be electric.
The clamp retails for $499 including postage and handling to anywhere in Australia and The Bug understands the landed unit cost is only $55, making it a big earner for the party.
“The clamp is perfect for SUVs, utes and trucks whether you’re a suburban mum, a town tradie or a person on the land,” said one senior Liberal who asked not to be named.
“The good news is that the people who are dumb enough to believe the bullshit we’re spreading about Labor’s EV policy are also dumb enough to think you need a Michaela Clamp for every wheel on every vehicle, so sales are booming.
“We’ve got ladies in Melbourne ordering four clamps for each of their Toorak tractors.
“One small transport operator in Longreach wanted to order 18 clamps for each of his D-doubles and we told him nine would be more than enough for each of his rigs.”
Below is a typical advertisement being run around Australia for the popular clamp.