It’s taken many months of planning by ALP strategists to come to fruition, but federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese believes he now has the winning formula to wrestle the keys to The Lodge off Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the looming federal election.
The Bug met up with Mr Albanese in a traditional red-brick pub in his inner-Sydney electorate of Grayndler.
Albanese: Here, watch this! (Albanese is handed a schooner of Reschs and downs it in just a few hearty gulps, to the cheers of early-morning drinkers) Did you capture that?
The Bug: Sorry, you were too fast for us.
Albanese: That’s okay. Lex, my professional photographer here, got it. (turns to the barman who shakes his head when asked if they have a yardglass for the next drink and photo opportunity).
The Bug: Is this your new strategy to beat Morrison? Surely there’s more to it than that?
Albanese: Of course, dear boy. (downs his second schooner and places the upturned glass on his head to more cheers from around the public bar). We’ve already made it clear that we’ll be going to the Australian people with no real policies.
The Bug: None at all?
Albanese: It’s safer that way. Well, at least that’s what the 2019 poll taught us. If we came up with even one major policy, Tim Wilson would be off like a shot on a taxpayer-funded parliamentary road show to tell all sorts of fibs about the policy and raise Liberal funds at the same time.
The Bug: Fair enough. And we can see what you’re doing here but surely you can’t win an election just by aping the PM and trying to come across as the larrikin bloke next door who loves a beer, his local footie team and family in that order and is basically an all-round good fella with a heart of gold and all rather harmless, really.
Albanese: Of course not. Want to come across to the park over there and kick a footie around with me and my photographer? We’ll have to send off video to the networks early if we want a good run.
The Bug: Not right now.
Albanese: Fine. (adjusts the South Sydney supporters scarf around his neck and moves his legs apart, revealing a large urine stain in the groin area of his light-grey casual trousers. Keeps his legs apart long enough for us to see and admire the growing stain.) Wanna finish this interview back at my house after we knock off a few more?
The Bug: I guess so.
Albanese: Great! I’ve just bought myself a little two-grill Matador barbecue down at Bunnings – nothing fancy like Morrison has – and Lex is going to take pics and video of me assembling it.
The Bug: Okay, but you will outline more of your election strategy? We will be billing this as an exclusive.
Albanese: Of course. Let’s have a liquid lunch while I wield the allen key and then please stay for tea. I’ve just bought a curry cookbook – can you cook a curry on a grill plate? – and I’ll make us something nice, maybe a Madras beef and potato curry. Later tonight, we’ll all go down to Maccas at Engadine and …
The Bug: Sure. But you do promise to outline more of your strategy?
Albanese: Of course! We’ve got Morrison on toast. He’s foolishly going to adopt a net zero emissions target by 2050 and we’re also hearing that he might even announce a goal that 50 per cent of all new vehicle sales by 2030 should be EVs!
The Bug: Like you did last time?
Albanese: Exactly, but this time round it’s going to be me being able to sit back and relax between sporty photo opps as News Corp Australia’s rags around the nation rip him to shreds over the thousands of billions of dollars those policies will cost average Australians who will already be pissed off about having their weekend stolen!
The Bug: You do know NewsCorpse has swung 180 degrees on climate change and will spend election page after election page lauding Morrison’s net-zero policy and the zillions of dollars it will make for the nation and the countless jobs it will create?
Albanese: (spluttering on his new Reschs) Fuck, when did that happen? Did those fuckwit backroom hacks at party HQ know about that? I’m gonna have someone’s fucking balls on a plate over this. Lex, we’d better get back there asap. (signals the barman for a quick palate cleanser before he does).
The Bug: You could run a campaign solely on open, honest and ethical governance? Outlaw pork-barreling, for example.
Albanese: Fuck! And miss out on our turn to do that?