The party was selling $35 coffee mugs which bore the slogan “Back in Black” on its website, before the items mysteriously vanished earlier this month.
The slogan was a reference to the government’s much-hyped plan to return the budget to surplus, which now seems little more than a pipe dream following the economic blows caused by the bushfire crisis and now coronavirus panic.
The term has been used by the Liberals since 2019 when it launched a campaign to promote the expected surplus, a feat which would have been the first since the 2007-8 budget.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) April 1, 2019
Earlier today, The Australian confirmed the cups had been removed from the party’s online store.
“Two weeks ago we noticed a suspicious ‘sold out’ sign appeared on the item, around the same time Labor MPs started using them as props during TV interviews,” reporter Alice Workman wrote.
When the budget was released on April 2 last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison took to Twitter to claim: “Tonight our Government will be announcing the first Budget surplus in 12 years #Budget2019 #BuildingOurEconomy.”
But yesterday, it was a very different story when he fronted the Australian Financial Review’s Business Summit to claim the financial fallout from the coronavirus outbreak could be “potentially greater than the global financial crisis for Australia”.
“Whatever you thought 2020 was going to be about, think again,” he said.
“We now have one goal together this year – to protect the health, the wellbeing, and livelihoods of Australians through this global crisis, and to ensure that when the recovery comes – and it will – we are well-positioned to bounce back strongly on the other side.”
The awkward disappearance of the mugs from the Liberal Party website has created quite a stir on social media, with Twitter users unable to resist sharing a joke at the party’s expense.
Some quipped the mugs were now a “collector’s item” while others asked for a “refund”.
Only over the weekend I had a chuckle with my old man about the ‘back in black’ mugs on libs website… they have now been removed from their online store #auspol #ScottyFromMarketing #whatajoketheyare #smokesandmirrors pic.twitter.com/rpwNnyGUAA
— Andrew Stavrou (@stavee_) March 10, 2020
News.com.au contacted the Liberal Party for comment.