Strategies For Dealing With Misbehaving Liberals

Liberals. They bring us so much joy, but let’s be honest: there are times when they can be a handful.

Many of us know the feeling of being at our wits’ end dealing with our Liberals’ shenanigans, crying out, “How can I make these bloody Liberals behave?”

The good news is, you don’t have to face your Liberals’ behavioural issues alone. Like the saying goes, it takes a village, and you should never be ashamed of reaching out for help with your Liberals. When we share our experience, even the most troublesome Liberal can be handled with care and love.

Here are some useful tips for wrangling the difficult Liberal in your life.
SET BOUNDARIES

It’s all very well to be compassionate with Liberals, but you also have to make sure they know who’s boss. There comes a time when you have to put your foot down and say, “No. No you cannot be automatically endorsed by the state council without going through a preselection process. That is not how we do things in this house.”

No doubt your Liberal will kick and scream, but it’s crucial you stand your ground. Even if they cry, or break things, or threaten to sit on the crossbenches, you need to keep those boundaries intact.

Stand your ground during dummy spits. (Image: Getty)
REMEMBER THE IMPORTANCE OF REST

Often the only reason a Liberal acts up is that they are tired and cranky. The problem is, so often it’s when they’re at their crankiest that they’re the most reluctant to have a nap.

Nevertheless, you need to stick to nap times. Remember the average Liberal needs 12-14 hours of sleep per day, and if they can’t get that in the chamber, they will need to catch up after hours.

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When one of your Liberals is whining and sulking and refusing to listen to female MPs’ speeches, you need to be a little bit strict and say, “Get back into the House of Representatives, sit in your chair, and close your eyes. Yes, if you like you can take a book. No, you already had a glass of water.”

They won’t like it, but in the end a well-rested Liberal is a much happier Liberal.

Make sure your Liberal gets solid sack time.
MAKE USE OF THE TIMEOUT

Sometimes we all need a bit of space, a chance to step away from whatever is driving us crazy and take a few deep breaths. Liberals are, in many ways, just like grown-ups in this respect.

There’s a time for using reason and talking through problems with your Liberal, and there’s a time for recognising that you’re getting nowhere and a timeout is needed.

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It’s up to you how you implement your timeout policy: some like to make their Liberal spend some time in an unwinnable position on the Senate ticket; some like to demote their Liberal to the outer ministry; some simply call for a leadership spill.

Do whatever you’re most comfortable with: the important thing is that your Liberal gets the chance to cool down and think about what they’ve done. Eventually they will come back in a much calmer mood. They might even apologise!

Sometimes timeouts are the best policy. (Image: Getty)
DON’T HUMOUR THEM

A lot of people say that when a Liberal threatens to run away from home, you should humour them. Pack them a lunch, wish them well, wave them goodbye and so on.

Actually this is very misguided, as pretending you don’t care whether a Liberal runs away can make that Liberal feel unloved.

Better to say, “That would make me very sad, so I hope you don’t run away”.

That will make your Liberal feel that they are wanted, and they are much less likely to sneak out their bedroom window and become an Independent.

Don't humour your Liberal-- you may inadvertently push them away. (Image: Getty)

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CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

No, this doesn’t mean ritual humiliation of non-commissioned officers, Senator Molan! Although the modern trend is towards non-violent solutions to Liberal troubles, the fact is there are some situations that simply cannot be solved without recourse to corporal punishment.

Just as a swift whack on the nose with a newspaper can help correct your pet’s behaviour, Liberals can be taught the difference between right and wrong with this kind of decisive action. But remember: the aim is to send a message, not to actually hurt the Liberal.

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A short, sharp, smack on the leg or the bottom, accompanied with a clear instruction – “No! We do NOT undermine our leader through strategic leaking”; “You STOP hinting that you might mount a leadership challenge right NOW”; “What did I TELL you about exploding in streams of obscenities towards your party colleagues at public events?” -- will send that message.

Of course it’s a shame whenever you have to resort to physical persuasion, and corporal punishment should always be used sparingly, but Liberals will be Liberals, and sometimes a smack is simply the only language they understand.

Use corporal punishment sparingly. (Image: Getty)

There’s no silver bullet for misbehaving Liberals, but if you keep these tips in mind, and remember to never be afraid to ask for help, you can successfully handle any crisis that your Liberals throw up, from systemic sexism to continual interference from ex-leaders to weirdly off-putting smiles. Good luck!