You don't have to be an expert in politics or comedy to recognise the potential for laughs inherent in our government.

In fact you don't even have to look too deeply at federal parliament to see it's got many of the hallmarks of a TV sitcom (albeit one that's gone on for one too many seasons).

There's the character we're supposed to relate to but actually find a bit dull (Bill Shorten), and his sassy female sidekick we're all secretly rooting for (Tanya Plibersek).

There's the one who drops in once every episode to deliver a snippy one liner (Christopher Pyne) and the wacky neighbour who's always coming up with crazy schemes (Clive Palmer).

There's the precocious kid that makes everyone go "aww" every time they open their mouth (Wyatt Roy), and the batty old aunt who's always getting caught doing something embarrassing (Bronwyn Bishop).

Surely if they can remake 1990s snore-fest "Full House" they can turn question time into a comedy show; "Full House of Reps", with Malcolm Turnbull as Bob Saget and Tony Abbott as the bumbling uncle Joey who's always stumbling into situations and ruining them.

So it's perhaps not really surprising that when our PM tried to explain his party's campaign strategy on Sky News last week, he accidentally used a slogan from US comedy series "Veep".

Unwittingly parroted by Mr Turnbull in a televised interview, "continuity with change" was devised by Veep's writers as an intentionally meaningless campaign slogan adopted by the sitcom's hapless presidential candidate Selina Meyer.

It literally means nothing. In the history of Australian election campaign slogans, it's up there with the dullest. Although it's marginally better than Labor's 1996 effort which was simply "leadership". What a vision that was.

Still, I guess it's an improvement on "stop the boats".

This week comedians at the Melbourne Comedy Festival were asked to devise alternative slogans for Mr Turnbull and came up with "striving towards effort", "today, today, tomorrow - the future" and "a promise to commitment" which sounds a bit like something someone would say on The Bachelor.

They're all fairly equal on the pointlessness scale, but to be honest I think the PM had the right idea the first time: borrow from TV. Some of the best writers in the world work in television, why not utilise their skills?

What about Seinfeld's "yada yada yada"? Much easier than having to actually come up with ideas and policies and details. What does the Turnbull government stand for? Oh you know, yada yada yada. Perfect.

Or there's Joey's famous catchphrase from Friends: "How you doin'?". Except people might actually tell you, and then you're stuck listening to their problems and having to govern to fix them. Scratch that.

Homer Simpson's "d'oh!" or Fonzie's "aaay!" would seem to be useful in a multitude of situations, like when you accidentally use a catchphrase from a TV comedy in a nationally televised interview and the whole country laughs at you.

For a slightly more proactive approach to winning votes, Turnbull could always borrow from Aunty Jack: "If you don’t vote for me, I’ll jump through your TV and rip your bloody arms off!".

And next time the government announces a disastrous idea like, say, the new income tax proposal, the PM can just front up to the cameras and whine "did I do that?" in the manner of Urkel from '90s sitcom Family Matters. Then everyone will smile and laugh and forgive him.

Finally though, if his approval rating is anything to go by, the most likely TV catchphrase to show up on the hustings might be from reality show Survivor, as we finally extinguish Turnbull's torch and oust him from the island: "The tribe has spoken".


First published in The Advertiser April 2, 2016. CLICK HERE to read the original article.