The Labor Party mounted a last-minute scam at Bill Shorten’s weekend policy launch to mislead Australian voters about unity within the party in the lead-up to the May 18 election.
In this exclusive report we can reveal that the ALP imported two experienced British actors to play the roles of former prime minister Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard at Sunday’s launch in Brisbane.
We have confirmed with Labor Party insiders that UK actors, Tilda Swinton and Alan Bennett, were dressed up and substituted for Gillard and Rudd, a plan hatched after the two former PMs began arguing violently during rehearsals late last week for the ALP campaign’s crucial televised set-piece.
The two award-winning Brits, who flew in only hours before the televised event on Sunday, are pictured above back in the UK at a London film premiere after completing their flying visit to Australia.
Tilda Swinton (left) who was made up to play Gillard is an actor, writer, producer, and director, and most recently appeared in The Avengers: Endgame.
Alan Bennett (right) who played Rudd perfectly, licking his lips constantly, patting down his blond locks and adjusting his glasses, is a successful and award-winning British screenwriter, playwright, actor, and author.
A Labor Party insider confirmed the ploy, saying: “The party always wanted to project an image of unity at the launch given the track record of the past decade and also given the disunity within the Coalition in recent times.
“A long way out from the start of this campaign we began making overtures to both Rudd and Gillard to see if they would be able to make an entrance together to give voters the perception that our internal divisions are well behind us.
“We spent months negotiating with them to see if they would agree to walk in together to take their seats at the policy launch and put on happy faces to reassure voters.
“Both insisted on a long list of conditions, but finally they agreed. Luckily we decided we needed a back-up plan which involved hiring two actors from outside Australia who could pass for Rudd and Gillard and fill in if one or both of them broke the deal.
“We didn’t really expect both Rudd and Gillard to drop out, but rehearsals proved a disaster. Last Thursday the two of them started a loud and abusive argument in the holding room under the Brisbane Convention Centre about who should wave to the crowd first. Who should sit down last. Who should point aimlessly into the crowd as if they recognised someone. Things like that.
“It got very messy, quite literally, as they both started hurling at each other the fruit and sandwiches we had provided for them.
“So we had to call on Tilda and Alan who got here just in time. We had costumes, professional make-up artists, a big pointy prosthetic nose ready, a grey basin-cut wig, and being the consumate professionals, they pulled it off faultlessly.”
The ALP insider would not divulge how much the two British actors were paid.
“Put it this way, it wasn’t cheap. So much so that we’ve been forced to do a bit of last- minute intensive fundraising,” he said.
“But we’re a bit shorthanded at the moment with a couple of weeks of the campaign still to go, so we’ve decided to repeat what worked at the weekend.
“We’ve hired a US actor to play ex-Senator and former party bagman Sam Dastyari and he’ll be knocking on a few doors at the big end of town.
“We reckon it’ll work. Peter Dinklage is the spitting image of Sam,” the insider said.