The Federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten, has revealed his strategy for getting Labor elected at the ALP annual conference over the weekend. The strategy is designed to wrong-foot the government by agreeing with everything they say and thereby confusing them into contradicting themselves.
Starting with boat turn backs, Shorten asked his party to adopt the position of repeating verbatim everything the government says. “We know that when they were in opposition the Liberal Party developed their policies by saying ‘not’ after we said anything,” Shorten explained in a media conference yesterday afternoon.
“We now acknowledge the political genius of that tactic, but we want to differentiate ourselves from the Liberal Party. If, instead, we agree with everything they say, the government won’t know if they’re coming or going. We’ll force them so far to the right that they may even take policy positions Australian voters actually recognise as objectionable.”
Some dissidents within the party object that the long-term goal of this strategy is unclear, and risks hollowing out every principle the Labor Party ever stood for, but the policy has been well received by political commentators. Bluebell Schutzstaffel, political editor with the Adelaide Attacker, praised Shorten’s genius.
“Adopting the position to turn back the boats really backs the government into a corner,” she said. “The only option left to Abbott and Dutton to demonstrate their greater toughness on border protection is to start executing asylum seekers, and the ALP is probably right that the Australian people don’t have the stomach for that kind of action.”
Eventually, it is hoped that the move will produce so much confusion in the ranks of government that their MPs won’t know which side of the house to sit on, and the government will lose any sense of their own platform. “It’s a risky strategy,” Shorten admitted, adding that “times such as these demand political courage and bold policy-making on the part of a credible opposition.”
Macquarie University political scientist, John Spock, observed that these kinds of mimicking behaviours are seen in the wild, where prey species will confuse predators by “mirroring” their actions. “It’s one step up from playing dead,” he observed.
The long-awaited revelation of an ALP election strategy followed the defeat of rival strategies discussed at the conference, such as sticking fingers in ears whilst yelling “lalalala,” and saying “I know you are, you said you are, but what am I?”