Malcolm Turnbull offered voters "continuity and change," much like Selina Meyers' deliberately bad 'Continuity with change'
In the history of poorly chosen election slogans in 2016, the brains behind Fine Gael’s now infamous ‘Keep the recovery going’ can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they, at the very least, didn’t accidentally ape a deliberately “meaningless” phrase from Veep, the HBO political satire about the US presidency.
After announcing that Australians would face an unprecedented 100 days of campaigning before finally going to the polls, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pulled an accidental Malcolm Tucker by repeatedly using the three-word slogan ‘continuity and change’ during a TV interview. The choice of words was considered a ploy to highlight the difference in leadership after a political coup saw Turnbull oust former Liberal PM Tony Abbott from the leadership of the party.
The phrase ruffled the feathers of one of the writers of Veep, who called the phrase “hollow and oxymoronic” after the satirical sitcom chose ‘Continuity with change’ as a deliberately awful tagline used by President Selina Meyers in her effort to secure a second term in the White House.
‘Continuity with Change’ features in the background numerous times throughout the forthcoming fifth season of the multi-award-winning show, which was co-created by The Thick of It writer Armando Iannucci.
Reacting to the Liberal Party’s use of the phrase, Veep writer Simon Blackwell told The Guardian that the show’s version came about when art director Jim Gloster needed something to go on the side of the President’s campaign bus.
In S4 of Veep we came up with the most meaningless election slogan we could think of. Now adopted by Australian PM. https://t.co/64YmQvImj5— Simon Blackwell (@simonblackwell) March 22, 2016
“We needed it to be hollow and oxymoronic, to say absolutely nothing but seem to have depth and meaning. It couldn’t be too daft though – it had to be funny but still believable,” he said.
“Selina wants to be all things to all people – she wants to assure the American public that government is carrying on as normal after the president has stepped down, that there is no crisis, but she also wants to seem fresh and forward-looking.
“It did make me laugh a lot when I saw that the Australian PM’s people had been on the same mental journey and come up with the same meaningless phrase.”
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose work on the show has won her the Emmy for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy or Musical’ for all four previous seasons of the expletive-strewn comedy, also tweeted her response to the Australian PM’s choice of words.