Liberal Party strategists have come up with a clever scheme they say is saving the party large amounts of money while freeing up minor political players for more important tasks in their electorates at the same time.
And they happily admit it’s a straight steal from the NRL’s recent use of cardboard cutout figures at crowd-less football matches to give the impression of solid, popular support as the season relaunched.
“The old format of a high-ranking politician holding a media conference, with other ministers and local MPs crammed behind them is over,” a party strategist told The Bug on the condition of anonymity.
“The technique of using cardboard cutouts has been in place for a month and no one has picked up that the grinning acolytes within camera range of the PM or other ministers aren’t real.
“In fact, the family of Dan Tehan took his cutout home after a media call with Scott Morrison and they are enjoying his company far more than the real thing who can be a bit boring.
“They certainly find him far more interesting.”
The cardboard cutouts also meant junior ministers and backbenchers could stay in their offices fobbing off locals with their problems and working on grants rorts and other pork-barreling ideas crucial to their re-election, the strategist added.
The Bug understands the PM also experimented with the concept in an attempt to rebuff perceptions that he has no empathy for his fellow Australians.
The Liberal Party cameras rolled as Mr Morrison in trial runs hugged cardboard cut-outs of everyday Australians and pretended to try to pick up and shake their hands.
The PM was forced to put the concept on hold, however, after he gripped a cardboard figure too tightly and snapped off its head with a rather loud bang that had the PM quipping with his trademark smirk: “So much for my quiet Australians.”
“Anyway, nothing ventured, nothing gained,” a source in the PMO said. “All these cardboard figures will eventually return to their maker, Visy, who just happens to be one of the Liberal Party’s largest donors.
“It really is a win-win situation for us.
“No wonder we’re regarded as the natural party for sound economic management.”