The Morrison Government now looks set for certain defeat on Saturday following the total failure of its final major setpiece for the 2019 campaign.
“It had been meticulously planned and was to be the coup de grace that put Bill Shorten and his rabble of a party back in its box where it belongs,” a sombre Liberal Party campaign strategist told The Bug on the condition of anonymity.
He scoffed when this newspaper asked if he was talking about Sunday’s folksy, presidential-style, one-man-band campaign launch at the Melbourne Convention Centre.
“No, no. That went down a treat, didn’t it? ScoMo kicked it out of the park. It was fantastic,” the strategist said.
“I’m talking about the disaster that took place just north of Christmas Island late yesterday. It’s basically sunk our campaign in more ways than one.”
The Bug can now reveal in this world exclusive that, according to the Liberal Party strategist, the plan involved the sighting of at least 24 boats carrying hundreds of “illegal and mainly Muzzie” refugees just north-west of the recently reopened Christmas Island detention centre, a fresh “babies overboard” incident that would garner media attention across Australia for days.
Carpenters had worked for weeks in the detention centre’s workshops to create the 24 minature dilapidated fishing boats used for the establishment shots for the project. A small number of lifesize boats were also built for the more dramatic, up-close-and-personal human-tragedy scenes.
Scores of Asian actors, including a number of new mums, rehearsed in a huge watertank at the centre for weeks learning how to throw their babies overboard ‘with callous disregard for human life’ from one of the full-sized vessels, using only one hand as the other was raised defiantly with a copy of the Koran.
“You don’t think we spent almost $200 million reopening the detention centre there just for the PM’s media opportunity in March, did you?” the strategist said. “That would be a disgraceful and shocking misuse of taxpapyers’ money.
“Those tradies worked bloody hard to have all the replica boats ready and the actors really broke a leg. At least one of them did.
“We were spending our own money this time, so the miniature Muzzie boats on camera looked just like the real thing from just a short distance away (pictured).
“But it was the full-sized ones we were towing yesterday to the location shoot for the crucial babies overboard scenes when the bloody tow rope from the Operation Sovereign Borders seagoing tugboat broke, didn’t it?” the strategist said.
“We had not quite reached our shoot location and Peter Dutton, who was overseeing things, dived in to rescue the situation (main picture). He knew how important this was to national security, not to mention his own.
“Then just as everything was set to record – we had navy divers in the water so there was no way in the world we were going to let the babies get thrown overboard unless it was safe to do so – when a strong breeze blew up.
“The full-sized boats which were really only made of cheap pinewood with paper mache wheelhouses began to founder and sink (sic) and everyone on board started to panic. They forgot their roles and their lines and everyone just jumped into the water instead.
“Our bloody Royal Australian Navy media unit that was filming and photographing the exercise then had to help the navy diverd rescue them all. The whole thing went from shipshape to pear shape in a matter of minutes really. Peter Dutton was nearly in tears.
“This footage was supposed to blow Labor out of the water once we sent it out to News Corp. Instead, our campaign masterstroke has sunk without trace.”