A student (Malcolm Turnbull) has learnt some successful lessons from the master, John Howard, on dealing with an issue while delivering no change.
A student (Malcolm Turnbull) has learnt some successful lessons from the master, John Howard, on dealing with an issue while delivering no change. allanswart

It's all gay and hearty for a Liberal smarty


Deal with marriage equality issue so as to appear to satisfy all sides yet deliver no change.


Malcolm Turnbull. Method draws on prior research.

Sequence to follow:

Make yet another attempt at a national plebiscite run by Electoral Commission.


Same old defeat in the Senate.

Shrug shoulders, say "We now have a mandate to run a postal plebiscite without having it approved by Parliament."

Senate blocks the $122 million that was to be drawn from my department's budget.

Shrug shoulders and pull $122 million from back pocket. "I will personally pay for a postal plebiscite. No point being rich if I can't use it to buy me a job and keep Abbott in limbo."

There will be no vote in Parliament because Liberals who were to cross the floor must now back the plebiscite and Australians will vote against it or be so divided as to not take part.

Strategy: Use snail mail, a medium foreign to most people under the age of 35 and run by Australia Post, an organisation known for slipping standards.

The count will be by the ABS in the hope there will be a technology stuff-up on a grand scale because we've been cutting their funds for years. See earlier project - the Census debacle.

The case for and against will be strongly weighted against. The question is framed to make it a likely No vote. Australians tend to vote No. Make it optional. Australians are lazy.

With a bit of luck there will be too many other things on that week. Team Liberal will create spot fires to distract the public. Team National will strut around being Barnabistic or bombastic. No, I don't know the difference, but they assure me there is one.

Team Abbott is likely to boost the efforts of all on this issue - a use for him at last. Somewhere to point his mouth.

The only options left for those supporting gay marriage are:

They all vote in the plebiscite for gay marriage and most likely miss out on getting a strong enough majority.

If by some mistake on the part of the ABS (not me, never me) the gay lobby does get a majority Yes vote, we allow a free vote in Parliament but MPs will not have to vote in accord with the result of the plebiscite. And there's free and free. We have control of preselection. We'll show them what free means in the Liberal Party.

If the supporters of gay marriage boycott the plebiscite, there will be a resounding number of Christians and right wingers and other easily moved masses who will be saying No.

If the supporters of gay marriage lose the plebiscite there are no longer any grounds for a free vote in Parliament.

Examiner's comment:

From John Howard, creator of the original divide on the subject of equal marriage rights.

Excellent work, Malcolm. Sure to knock the debate on the head. Likely to get a No vote. Sure to keep Australia stuck where it is. Very well crafted to deal with Liberal Party noisemakers.

Now you've won this battle, have you put any thought into how to win the war - the next election?

I suggest that might need a bit more work after this.

Pollie Tickled is a satirical column.