THE HON MALCOLM TURNBULL MP, PRIME MINISTER
Guidelines for the Development of New Policy
We are living in the most exciting time to be alive and excited. The big economic changes that we’re excitedly living through offer enormous challenges and enormous opportunities, and we need a different style of leadership. We need a style of leadership that explains the challenges and how to seize the opportunities. We need advocacy, not slogans. We need to respect the intelligence of the Australian people.
This is why this memo outlines the following series of guidelines for creating new policy which I expect all ministers to adhere to.
- There are a number of commitments I gave internally in order to become Prime Minister including retaining the Party’s policy on climate change and marriage equality. There are others which I can’t currently divulge. You know what I’m talking about. All policy must abide by these commitments until at least next week.
- It’s time someone had the courage to stand up and oppose those things that people don’t like. The best sort of policy targets a small but noticeable group that most people think are bad and can feel confident about disliking. A good example (which I did myself) is opposing perpetrators of domestic violence. No one likes them because they are criminals. Possible groups that could be targeted in future include slow walkers; drink drivers; people who don’t bring anything to dinner parties; people who don’t answer their phone promptly; violent, morbidly obese, alcoholic smokers (taxation issues).
- Building on (2), all policy must be popular. If your policy is unpopular, don’t bring it to Cabinet or float it as a thought bubble on talkback radio, Twitter or Q and A.
- Notwithstanding (3) you can float an unpopular thought bubble if you are doing it so I can rule it out thereby appearing heroic and responsive.
- All policy should be fully negotiated with your Party Room colleagues before coming to Cabinet so that we do not fight rear guard actions later. However, you must ensure that none of your colleagues leaks the policy prior to bringing it to Cabinet (see 3).
- Ask yourself this simple question: What would John Howard do? You may be assisted in answering this question by asking Arthur Sinodinis who will be stationed outside my office without a clipboard.
- The sort of policy we are looking for will either have been called for, proposed, or endorsed by the following types of people:
- Karl Stefanovic
- Rosie Batty
- Elon Musk
- Lachlan Murdoch
- Hamish Blake
- Rebecca Judd
- The sort of policy we are looking for will NOT have been called for, proposed, or endorsed by the following types of people:
- Tony Abbott
- Andrew Bolt
- Tanya Plibersek
- Prince Philip
- Barnaby Joyce
- George Pell
- The only way we can ensure that we remain a high wage, generous social welfare net, first-world society is if we have outstanding economic leadership and strong business confidence. This is code for doing something the Business Council of Australia wants regarding industrial relations. Do not talk about this at all and do not bring it to Cabinet. Best practice is to slip it into a Bill that Barnaby Joyce is taking through the Senate about barley.
- Technology is good and exciting. People can get behind technology and it doesn’t upset most people except sometimes unions and it doesn’t matter what they think anyway. Do something with technology and don’t embarrass yourself by bringing it to Cabinet without using the terms, ‘agile’ and ‘exciting’.
- Other good words to use are ‘levers’, ‘participation’, ‘objectives’, ‘deregulation’, ‘challenges’ and of course, ‘exciting’. Related, it’s been far too long since someone has cut some red tape.
- Don’t go too far or not far enough with policy. We want to be the Goldilocks of Government. While we’re on the subject of women, don’t upset them or make them feel small because they hate that.
- There has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian, to be an Australian minister or to be an Australian Prime Minister. We cannot remain excited if we are not these things so make sure your policies are the sort of things that are going to win us re-election. Do not propose policies that are not going to win elections.
- Above all, be excited and embrace our disruptive environment. If you don’t know what this means, reread the Elon Musk biography I gave you.
Malcolm Turnbull, MP
Prime Minister of Australia