July 10, 2006 | Graham

Wallets and Diaries

What a classic quote:
“Well it makes you wonder, doesn’t it, why a person like McLachlan would carry around some notes in a diary for 12 years and then produce them. I mean Ian McLachlan is not known for opening his wallet, let alone his diary.” – Liberal backbencher Alby Schultz commenting on the latest round of Liberal Party leadership speculation on 4BC news.
Howard must be pleased with the way things are running – it’s tending to keep IR off the front page.
And all this at a time when Costello’s inept strategy and tactics tend to make him less, not more, suitable as Liberal Party leader.
There are two things that the party rank and file never want to see in a Liberal leader, irrespective of what the public might want – republicanism and centralism. They might be able to live with one of the two, as long as it is only quietly confessed in the intimacies of polite dinner conversation, but never both.
Of course, when Howard goes, they probably won’t have much choice, but Costello’s policy positions will conspire to make him a short-term leader. A bit like John Gorton, but without the pizazz or the crags.
Of course, there’s nothing much in the current speculation. Whatever Howard said 2 years before he was elected has got to be largely irrelevant. And if John Hewson, who has a strong dislike of Howard, thinks there’s nothing to it, as does Andrew Bartlett, I don’t think there’s too much more that needs to be said. You’d certainly be hard-pressed to find anyone in the Queen Street mall who would think that Howard should just pass over the Prime Ministership on the basis of a conversation that occurred before he was PM, or even in a position to deliver on it.
The man and woman in the street is looking for a safe pair of hands, and if they had to choose between athletic, handsome Peter Costello and dull, dour and plodding John Howard to be sitting waiting for the “mark”, they know which they’d rather have.

Posted by Graham at 1:07 pm | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. “party rank and file never want to see in a Liberal leader, irrespective of what the public might want – republicanism and centralism.”
    Howard is as centralist as Costello is. All the federal politicians are centralist, it is about the only thing the Libs, Labs, Nats, Dems and Greens agree on.

    Comment by cam — July 10, 2006 @ 11:48 pm

  2. I think you’ll find that the rhetoric still favours states rights, even if they have undoubtedly moved to centralise a large range of areas, such as IR and education.
    The GST was sold partly as a states rights policy.

    Comment by Graham Young — July 11, 2006 @ 10:28 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.