Australia

Australia PM's slogan mirrors satirical comedy Veep

Julia Louis-Dreyfus who plays US President Selina Meyer in Veep Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays US President Selina Meyer in the popular political sitcom Veep

"Continuity and change" was how Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull chose to describe his relationship to the policies of former leader Tony Abbott on Monday.

But he was seemingly unaware that satirical US show Veep had used a strikingly similar phrase to mock the emptiness of modern politics.

In Veep, a US presidential hopeful uses the phrase "continuity with change".

The show's creators said they were shocked at the coincidence.

Veep centres on a fictional US vice president, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who in one episode has the phrase "continuity with change" plastered on the side of a campaign bus.

Ms Louis-Dreyfus tweeted that she was "dumbfounded".

Simon Blackwell, the writer and executive producer for the popular political TV show, told the Guardian he laughed when he heard Mr Turnbull use the "most meaningless election slogan we could think of".

"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," Mr Blackwell said.

Abbott's shadow

An unofficial election campaign has begun in Australia after the prime minister announced an early poll would be called if the Senate fails to pass two labour reform bills in coming weeks.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Turnbull announced a A$1b clean energy fund on Wednesday, distancing himself from his predecessor Tony Abbott

Mr Turnbull and his ministers used the words "continuity and change" on several different occasions on Tuesday, after Mr Abbott said in an interview that the government would run its election campaign based on his policies.

On Wednesday Mr Turnbull appeared keen to further distance himself from Mr Abbott, voicing support for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, an organisation the former prime minister had wanted to scrap.

Meanwhile the prime minster's audacious move to recall parliament using a relatively obscure provision in the constitution drew a social media reaction from another political television show on Monday.

The House of Cards Twitter account wrote in the voice of its Machiavellian lead character President Frank Underwood: "I admire your methodology, Prime Minister. If you don't like how the table is set, turn over the table."

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