On the apparent eve of the calling of the 2010 Federal Election, I’d like to give a left field ‘shock and awe’ tactic that could work a treat for the Opposition.
Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was a famed Roman general who was held up as a perfect role model for Roman values. He had retired to his small farm when the Roman Republic called him up in 458 BC to serve as dictator and to lead the Romans in defeating the Aequians and the Sabines. He agreed and immediately on defeating the tribes, resigned the dictatorship and returned to his farm. This action – to serve one’s country in its time of need but to willingly step down from power – was rightly seen as great example for future generations of Romans (including, perhaps Sulla, who also resigned the dictatorship but had acted as a tyrant in the meantime).
So here is my shock and awe strategy.
On Saturday afternoon, following Gillard’s press conference stating she has seen the Governor General and that there will be an election on 28 August, Tony Abbott appears at a press conference with Peter Costello.
He states that the party has asked Peter Costello to return to public life in the national interest. That the Government has proven to be incompetent and unethical. That it requires a steady hand at the helm by someone who will ensure that the nation’s finances are returned to the black and to unwind the excesses of the Rudd and Gillard governments. And that he, Tony Abbott, has decided to ask Peter Costello to run in the seat of X (and there will be at least a week for nominations to be submitted by candidates) and immediately be the Leader of the Opposition. And that he, Tony Abbott, would be pleased to serve in Peter Costello’s cabinet should the people of Australia think that the Coalition is worthy of election.
Peter Costello would then take the mike and explain how distressed he has been at the damage to Australia’s national interest wrought by the Rudd and Gillard Governments and that he stands ready – should the people want to elect the Coalition – to serve as Prime Minister for one full term and to work assiduously to repair the damage of the Labor Governments. And that he would cultivate a Coalition team member to offer himself/herself at the following election and that, following that election, he, Peter Costello, would return to private life, satisfied that he had worked in the nation’s interest. That he was following the example of Cincinnatus.
That is my ‘shock and awe’ strategy.