I can't believe the ALP is sleep walking into a ready-made Liberal Party campaign that merely poses one question - If you can't govern yourselves how could voters believe you could better govern the state.
Former PM Bob Hawke coined the phrase to throw at the Coalition for a decade over the shambolic power struggle between John Howard and Andrew Peacock.
It was a reasonable question, to which the Coalition had no answer.
It cost them four winnable elections.
Because of the dysfunctional meanderings of the State ALP, culminating in three lost elections and opinion polling going backwards, the National Executive decided to take over the branch until the 2025 state election and suspend all office bearing administering positions plus state conferences.
Instead, the branch was allowed to hold an 'annual policy forum' to air rank and file policy debate; like primary school practice on bicycle trainer wheels.
Former Senators Nick Sherry and Doug Cameron in the meantime control the branch while holding an inquiry into the reasons why it keeps losing elections.
The answer is blatantly obvious but I guess they have to go through the motions.
A week ago the National Executive endorsed a full list of candidates in Franklin and most places in other electorates.
In effect they froze out embattled independent Labor MP David O'Byrne which in the short term represented a win for Opposition Leader Bec White, but in the long term, will make her job of winning the election so much harder.
Remember she stood down as leader after the last election debacle and endorsed Mr O'Byrne as the new leader, and then he had to stand down over allegations that as a union leader he harassed a junior female staffer.
White is emphatic that O'Byrne is not welcome back into the fold, which is crazy because now he is a renegade outside the tent wreaking havoc.
She could have brought him inside the tent and shut him up, at least until her final tilt at government.
She won't get another chance.
O'Byrne has considerable union and party rank and file support.
It is the worst of all worlds.
A future king in exile and a battle-scared queen fending off barbarians at the gates.
So, the Federal Executive will relinquish control of the state branch before the election due in 2025.
But we all know Premier Jeremy Rockliff will be tempted to go early, in the first half of next year, in which case he can ambush the opposition while they remain divided.
Whether he goes next year or a full term, the attack ads remain the same: If they can't govern themselves they surely can't govern the state.
It is a deadly attack because there is so much evidence to support it.
O'Byrne could go quietly and quit Parliament, but I understand he is more active than ever.
He wants redemption; he wants his reputation and standing restored; he wants the premiership.
All he has to do is rely on intel from party supporters and rely on his own instincts, to be able to get the jump on Labor announcements and render policy launches useless.
He can promise everything because he doesn't have to keep a ledger.
If he knows White is going to announce a $100 million cost of living package, he'll gazump them with his support for a $150 million package a day or two earlier.
He can seriously mess with Bec White's campaign and mess with her head.
He only needs to get himself re-elected and make sure Bec White fails.
And, even if she survives but fails to win government he knows she's gone.
She will have to stand down and his pathway back to the leadership will be easier.
He is in a good position to retain his seat because of the larger House of Assembly and lower threshold to win a seat.
He knows that if he shows enough contrition over his past sins voters may consider it high time he was forgiven.
It's not a foregone conclusion but remorse is a powerful emotion if it's seen as genuine.
Whether O'Byrne is a factor or not, the state opposition cannot win government or even just more seats than the Liberals in a hung Parliament unless it is a fully fledged politician party.
I am at a loss to understand why they are still subject to national control after almost 18 months of control.
Surely this party of normally smart people would be traumatised at the thought of another four years in opposition.
Surely they must see that it's time to shrug off the trainer wheels, which should have been ditched months ago.
There's only one serious answer to this.
They still haven't fixed it.
They are still divided.
They are still unprepared for government.
For all the scandals and challenges facing the fatigued Rockliff government and Liberal Party, they can always rely on the Labor Party to see them through for another term.
- Barry Prismall is a former deputy editor of The Examiner and Liberal adviser.