July 10, 2006 | Graham

Costello move pre-meditated and self-defeating

When will Peter Costello resign? This afternoon’s press stories make this necessary, but difficult for him to achieve with dignity or credibility. You cannot effectively say that the Prime Minister lied, as Costello does in this report and this one, and stay in your job as 2-I-C. At any rate, not if you’ve got it in you to be boss yourself one day.
The Costello revelations look to have been planned. There’s been a slow build-up: a jaunt to The Solomon’s to bolster his claim on statesmanship, and comments on federal state relations to prove his reformist domestic credentials; Ian McLachlan’s left-field revelations; and now, after 24 hours of tease, Costello’s confirmation of their details. All of this in the winter recess when politicians don’t have parliamentary business to worry them.
But while it might be premeditated, it’s no coup. If it was a coup there’d be a quiet spill in the party room. The Costello camp’s resort to this sort of tactic demonstrates just how far from having the numbers they are. They appear to have taken a position that John Howard’s electoral standing, and the government’s, is going to worsen, and they want their man clear of any problems and in a position to pick-up the pieces.
How convincing will a Costello resignation be? Not very. While Costello has put himself in a position where he really has to resign, he actually needs Howard to demand his resignation. If Howard doesn’t, then Costello will have to resign himself, but on what basis? If the commitment was broken it was broken about six years ago, in 2000. What’s the quality of the PM in waiting that it takes 6 years for him to make a stand?
And a resignation taken for ambition rather than principle will not resonate well with electors.
These events may have been planned, but they bring to mind Paul Keatings comments on John Hewson’s plan – Fightback! “Yes, but it’s the wrong plan.”

Posted by Graham at 5:40 pm | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. “But while it might be premeditated, it’s no coup. If it was a coup there’d be a quiet spill in the party room.”
    Exactly. So is this just a first strike, setting up the scene for much later, or couild it be in fact just another reminder?

    Comment by WeekbyWeek — July 11, 2006 @ 9:32 am

  2. I’m totally confused this morning. Costello says he won’t resign. But what’s the point of a reminder? The party room will either think he is up to the job, or not. This episode will incline them towards “not”.

    Comment by Graham Young — July 11, 2006 @ 10:30 am

  3. Graham
    There needs to be some kind of closure to heal the rift. The sooner our great leaders get back to the serious job of running the country the better. I propose that John Winston takes his parliamentary housemate, young Peter the Pretender, to the punishment room and give him five good turkey slaps. We can then call it evens!
    Ian McLachlan to the diary room please!
    Big Bruvver

    Comment by Big Brother — July 11, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

  4. Shame Pauline H is not helping stir the pot….. It would be catch up time.
    Then Abbott could be chucked into the soup as well.

    Comment by Pat — July 17, 2006 @ 10:20 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.