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How the Libs might make Peter Perfect the perfect PM


Who knew that stripping off for the TV cameras and plunging buck naked into the chilly waters of Lake Burley Griffin was all you had to do to win an election? The Pete for PM campaign was a doddle after that stunt.If only Albo had thought of it, he mightn’t have lost to ScoMo way back in May, 2022.Ah, 2022. What a year that was. The election victory that laid the solid foundations for the Malinauskas era. All he’d needed to do was jump bare-chested into the old Adelaide Aquatic Centre pool and the Libs hadn’t known what hit them. Three state election wins on the trot – 2022, 2026 and 2030. Then he’d been “reluctantly” persuaded to make the jump to the big league in Canberra in 2032, midway through his third term.His old union, the Shoppies, had made sure he got a rock-solid federal seat – parachuting him into Chris Pyne’s old electorate of Sturt, a “safe Liberal” seat now in safe Labor hands on a 27 per cent margin. A quick shirtless dip in the Norwood Pool was all it took.He’d left his state in good hands, of course. Member for Stuart Geoff Brock had turned out to be a great Premier, moving seamlessly into the big desk in the State Admin Centre as if it was his second home. Sure, he was 88 now but still had all his faculties intact, thanks to his regular Monday morning cabinet treat of a Hawaiian Kahuna Pizza, shipped piping hot from the A1 Pizza Shop in Port Pirie, washed down with a cold Pepsi Max.Brockie was still an “independent” of course, which is why it all made so much sense. Ever since the 2022 election, people went nuts for independents.The ALP hadn’t needed to win any more seats after 2022. It just watched all the rest disintegrate around it. The number of “non-Labor” independents – code for Liberals who’d been expelled or disowned by the Liberal moderates – had mushroomed from four at the March 2022 election to a grand total of 17 now.He’d had to keep expanding his original cabinet to give them all a guernsey. True, a cabinet of 31 ministers might seem a little extravagant to outsiders but in SA it all seemed perfectly natural.The voters were pleased as punch with the arrangement.The same couldn’t be said for the Liberal Party, or what was left of it. After the 2030 election, it had only three MPs flying the party’s banner – Vickie Chapman, Penny Pratt and Ashton Hurn. They took it in turns to be Opposition Leader.The moderates regarded this as a tactical triumph because they could finally boast that 100 per cent of their lower house MPs were women. How many political parties could say that? They still had exactly the same number of women in the House of Assembly as they had ended up with after their March 2022 election loss, it’s just the men’s bits had shrunk. As it were.Speaking of shrinking, PM Pete had been bemused watching Nick Xenophon’s struggles to win seats, then give them up for no good reason, then want them back again. It was like watching a moth knock itself dizzy on a light globe.He now held the world record for winning seats in the combined four houses of a state and federal parliament, then quitting them. Nobody quite knew why.Politics was a funny business, the new PM mused. He’d crushed the Liberals back in the ’22 election campaign by bagging Steven Marshall’s promise to build a $662m “basketball stadium” on the banks of the Torrens. But just a week after the election, he’d said it was a “nice idea”. So nice, that he built the $662m Malinauskas Arena, on the banks of the Torrens, five years later.Steven Marshall quit his seat of Dunstan six months after losing the election – naturally, an “independent” won the by-election – but went on to bigger and better things. He launched a new chain of takeaways – Quokka in a Box – and business is going gang busters.The trams still don’t turn right at North Terrace, ambulances still ramp at the RAH, and the supermarkets still don’t open until 11 on Sunday mornings.The new PM just knew he could do for the rest of Australia what he’d done for his home town.

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