With the federal government about to engage in a $75 million advertising blitz to explain how it is effectively managing Australia’s COVID-19 recovery and deserves reelection after it completes its full three-year term in mid-2022, The Bug can reveal exclusively how the main advertisement will look.
We were handed a plain brown paper bag that contained the treatment for the principal advertisement to screen soon across all media platforms. It’s a mixture of typed and hastily handwritten additions, added presumably while filming was still under way.
Opening scene: Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in the back yard at The Lodge, dressed in daggy dacks and a Sharks jumper, Allen key in hand and a wooden mallet on standby as he builds a Bunnings flat-pack dog kennel for the family’s pet Laborpoodle puppy Albo with his two lovely daughters.
(He looks surprised as he spots the camera to one side and turns to face it): “Oh! Hi there.” (wipes his brow and adds) “Do you guys find this things bloody hard to assemble? I certainly do!(uses hands and facial features to convey a mixture of humility and total lack of hubris).
(And then signals to his daughters) “Go inside girls and after daddy has a quick chat to his fellow Australians, he’ll be inside soon to cook up one of his yummy beef rangoon curries.”
(Puts down Allen key and then to camera, voice tinged with emotion): “I’m so proud to be their father. Of the nation, I’m equally proud of the amazing recovery my government is overseeing as Australians – and that’s all of you – (points to camera with a proud face and a silent ‘thank you’) with their cocky never-say-die attitude put this nasty epidemic behind them.
(Wipes his brow with a towel before continuing). “Our battle against the China coronavirus has been been described as virtually being at wartime. Leadership becomes so important then, and naturally enough I’m proud to not only have led the national cabinet that I suggested and created but also marshalled enough general support to force through massive expenditure to protect existing jobs and help secure new ones, despite the strenuous opposition of Labor states and the trade union movement.
“As you would all know, the LNP as the only parties that can managing economies well find massive government expenditure and debt and deficit anathema to them unless they can see a distinct advantage in it for them … I mean for the Australian people! (turns aside) “Should we reshoot that?”
(Walks away from his Bunnings project as he continues) “Sure some of Australia’s state-based militia lost their nerve in the fight against COVID-19 from time to time but it was so important for national morale that I remained above the fray and generally statesmanlike as these unfortunate tactical arguments emerged.
(Stops and pauses briefly) “And we’ve got a long way to go with this battle so perhaps we should continue this chat in more formal surroundings?”
Scene: the Prime ministerial office. The camera is focused solely on the PM’s “I stopped these” refugee boat model, but then slowly pulls back to reveal the PM in his formal parliamentary wear and with his US Legion of Merit gong hung proudly around his neck.
(With serious look and hands clasped) “But the battle is far from won against COVID-19 and won’t be for some time, (pauses briefly as his face grows serious and he appears even more statesmanlike if that’s at all possible. He still manages time to pat a football prominent on his desk to show what a knockabout bloke next door he really is and has remained during his time in office).
“For a while we were all in this together until, sadly, those state militia I mentioned earlier lost their nerve and put people’s lives first before business profits when clearly only a sensible blend of the two was the way forward for this nation’s prosperity. It’s why I wanted those privately run aged care centres opened up to secure ongoing profits for those operators. Do you know how costly it is to feed and medicate the really old people in such care?
“Some states and territories simply labored under the misconception that securing our borders and maintaining national security – which is at the core of my government’s agenda – referred to both international and (pumps fist for emphasis) state borders which is, of course, an absolute nonsense!
“It was only then that I naturally joined the fray and showed the astute leadership we needed at this time, begging Labor states to stop playing silly politics and start to follow the gold standard set by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. I can’t praise her devotion to duty as my top general enough.”
“My government, with the ongoing support of Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese who I hope will continue in that role for a long, long time, will continue to pour unbelievable amounts to keep the momentum of recovery going through further job-keeping and job-seeking strategies and major infrastructure projects that will be announced over and over again in coming months and possibly brought forward if it turns out we simply can’t save the money while achieving the outcome we want at the same time.
(A rueful yet knowing shake of the head and then) “It’s why I need your help, Australia! Because here’s what we’re going to do together!”
(Advertisement then shows charts of the millions of shitty, part-time jobs being created despite the pandemic with shots of old infrastructure projects being readily shovelled).
(Scene returns to the prime ministerial office where the PM fiddles proudly with his Legion of Merit medal) “Make no mistake, my fellow Australians. A full recovery and a return to full prosperity is on the horizon. Church elders tell Jen and I that every Sunday.
“We are climbing steadily back up that prosperity hill. Songs will be written and sung one day about this uniquely Aussie, Anzac-spirit driven fightback! Everyone who wants a job will get a job!
“We will be rewarded for our labours. Death, taxes are said to be the only certainties in life.
“But I can guarantee that soon these dreadful and yes, deadly times, will be behind us and we will all once again be happy, clapping a recovery my government will be proud to have overseen.
“Thank you Australia for your ongoing support. God bless you all, God bless Australia and good night. (Stands and delivers a snappy salute to camera while a brace of Australian flags behind his desk miraculously start to flutter).
(Picture fades out as Advance Australia Fair is played with the one changed word the PM had championed for yonks, what with him being the proudest of supporters of our amazing first nations people.)