Gird your lobes, people, for in the coming weeks there’s a chance you’ll receive a phone call from Senator Cory Bernardi. Well, a carefully scripted, pre-recorded version of him at least.
The 47-year-old Australian Conservatives leader is mobilising one million ‘robo-calls’ via our nation’s phone towers in the hope of recruiting more people to vote NO in the marriage equality postal survey.
The calls will be made to landline numbers in Victoria and his home state of South Australia, which – even with my limited knowledge of telecommunications – likely won’t come cheap.
But Good Lord, whatever you do, don’t ask the Senator how much his party is spending on the endeavour.
“That’s like asking how much pocket money I give my wife,” Senator Bernardi told Fairfax, “or how much she gives me, I should say.”
Thought you might need some space to let that sink in.
The Senator, who quit the Liberal party earlier this year, has distanced his robo-calling mission from the divisive SMS campaign launched by the YES campaign this week. Because, you know, that wasn't on landlines.
"For some reason people feel like their mobiles are more personal space," he told Sky News.
Senator Bernardi also noted that his calls included questions at the end asking constituents to indicate whether they had/would be voting YES, NO or are undecided: "I want to take their temperature and it's a time-honoured technique of establishing the views of a particular electorate."
The temperature-taking question comes after a two-minute preamble in which he expresses his "deep concern" as a father that a YES result will "limit the right of parents to object to radical gay sex education and gender ideology programs" being taught in schools.
It begins like this:
“Hello, it’s Senator Cory Bernardi calling you from the Australian Conservatives, and I’d like to ask you something very important – so please, stay on the line for just a moment."
Well, Senator, since you called...