Home老域名 › ‘Flattering’: meet Clay Nelson, the Texan who Scott Morrison borrowed a catchphrase from

‘Flattering’: meet Clay Nelson, the Texan who Scott Morrison borrowed a catchphrase from

Clay Nelson (right) in one of his YouTube videos. Photo: YouTube Treasurer Scott Morrison at the National Press Club. Photo: Andrew Meares

Expect ‘modest’ income tax changes: Scott MorrisonScott Morrison and the art of the economic sales pitch

Who on earth is Clay Nelson?

It’s a question that rung out across the land on Wednesday as Treasurer Scott Morrison stood up at the National Press Club to deliver his first major speech of the year.

Morrison began by referencing a conversation with a friend, Clay Nelson – an American he says he met 10 years ago in New Zealand. Nelson’s father, Morrison informed us, was the first Elvis impersonator in history; we also learnt that he and his friends used to play pranks on each other by putting alligators in each others’ hunting cabins.

“Clay had a saying that he always used to say to people,” Morrison recalled.

“He was in sales, surprisingly. Clay would sit down with a client or a mate or a friend or whatever and first thing he’d always say to you was, ‘How can I help you win today?'”

The phrase initially made Morrison recoil – “that’s a bit full on; that’s a bit much” – but he came around when he realised how much Nelson meant it. It has inspired Morrison’s own catchphrase, one we can expect to hear much more of over the election year: How can I back you in today?

“You’re out there trying to make something happen,” he explained. “How can I as Treasurer, how can the government, back you in in terms of what you’re doing and what you’re hoping to achieve?”

As Morrison was outlining his economic vision, Nelson was hard at work in Wellington, New Zealand as his young daughter played with his mobile phone. He had no idea Morrison was going to reference him in the speech and was thankful for the offer to view a transcript when Fairfax Media called.

“Oh Scott, what a great guy,” a surprised Nelson said in a thick Southern accent. He grew up in Texarkana, which borders Texas and Arkansas, before moving to the Kiwi capital.

Asked his reaction to inspiring Morrison’s economic catchphrase, he said it was “flattering” and “pretty cool”.

“I’ve been working in sales for 25 years,” he said. “Despite what people think, sales isn’t about the gift of the gab. It’s about serving people and that’s what I try to do.”

Nelson, 50, recalls that he and Morrison met through their wives while Morrison was living in New Zealand to run the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Sport. He held this job from 1998 to 2000.

“He and Judy [Morrison’s wife] are really great people,” says Nelson, who owns his own sales company, Relationship unLimited. Like Morrison, he is a practising Christian (his Linkedin page says he has been a ministry leader at the Street City Church for the past 18 years.)

“I don’t get to see him as often as I would like because he is really busy but if I’m in Australia I make an appointment and we meet up,” he says.

As for his dad being an Elvis impersonator, he confirms this is true. While waiting for Elvis to arrive at a gig in Texarkana, Nelson’s dad got up on stage to belt out some tunes. He was so good that when Elvis arrived, the crowd booed the star offstage and demanded more songs from their fellow Texarkanan.

Elvis, Nelson says, was initially mad but the two became friends and did tours together.

Which brings to mind another catchphrase summing up Morrison and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s verdict on lifting the GST to 15 per cent. Only fools rush in.

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