Malcolm Turnbull’s Crazy Ivan


Today’s announcement by Australia’s Prime Minister to recall both the Australian Senate and the House of Representatives, and serve an ultimatum – pass legislation or witness a double dissolution of both Houses, and an early Federal Election – deserves analysis.

Malcolm Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull speaks to the media after announcing his plan for a double-dissolution election if industrial relations legislation is not passed. Photograph: Rashida Yosufzai/EPA/Guardian Australia

What better way to do so than to run the Playmaker Systems ruler over the Turnbull strategy.

And what we see is a high-risk, no-prisoner Preempt Play invoking the Crazy Ivan and the Trump (not to be confused with another high-risk political playmaker currently running for power).

The Crazy Ivan is the deliberate acceleration of an impending threat. In quintessential Aussie terms, it’s running straight at the opposing front row forwards, seeking to crash or crash through.

It’s intent? To re-set the agenda, to short-circuit stifled process and debate, and to do both in a way that totally overwhelms the opposition.

Gone is negotiation and caution: Turnbull allowed the Senate last week to pass laws to change the rules for how senators voted (after, it will be recalled, a pyjama-party all-nighter). Now we know why. The Senate must pass the legilstaion seeking to introduce a construction industry watchdog, or have its bluff called.

In fact, his play was crazy enough to blindside his Treasurer, who had to re-set his forthcoming budget date almost on the hoof on the radio.

Alongside the Crazy Ivan play sits its stablemate the Trump: the act of usurping an opponent’s own position. Turnbull’s political opposition, the Australia Labor Party and the Greens, are opposed to the new legislation. Now they have a simple choice: stare down the Coalition, or blink.

Both Plays are high-risk/high-reward.  We can expect, over the next three weeks, and then, if called, into the election lead-in proper, our fair share of Labels (the application of a memorable word by one party on another – blackmailer seems to be the best bet right now), Call Outs (mock indignation – form a line) and Deflects (the evasion of an attack by an opponent – look out for an early Deflect counter-play by Labor leader Bill Shorten, perhaps seeking to reclaim the agenda with accusations of weak tax policies within the Coaliation to  move attention away from his party’s support of the construction union under attack).

Of one thing we can be certain: Canberra’s playmakers are only just starting to sharpen their drafting pencils.

What a start to the week.

(Photo credit source/copyright acknowledged. The author no longer has any formal affiliation with Alan Kelly’s patented Playmaker Systems methodology: I just love applying it, especially to the political scene. He does too: read his Plays for the Presidency analysis.)

About alansmithoz

Head of Strategic Business Communications at Australian social analytics technology company Digivizer, with a background in corporate public relations and marketing. I do what I do because I believe communications can make a difference.
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