July 12, 2006 | Graham

Cui bono?

Still trying to come to grips with the Costello Follies, which he appears to be determined to keep alive.
I’m having trouble working out who wins out of all of this. John Howard doesn’t, because he always had Costello where he wanted him. Costello doesn’t, just look at the quotes coming out of the Liberal Party back and front benches.
One of my colleagues has a good “cock-up” theory. Prime Ministerial intimate Graeme Morris makes some un-guarded remarks on TV about the succession, these are seen by Costello as being part of a strategy to put off a leadership challenge, even though Howard knew nothing of them in advance. Costello gets angry, gives the McLachlan story to Milne who publishes it. The pressure then goes on McLachlan to confirm, which he does. And things flow from there with no-one, least of all Costello, prepared to back-down.
Another of my colleagues has a good “conspiracy” theory. Who benefits from this turn of events?
“Howard would have to be first suspect, but he is risk averse, has plenty to lose and probably is of the view that he can (and is ) managing Costello where he is – so probably not him.
Downer – has indicated a desire to be Treasurer, apparent recent dreams of taking on the top job, seems to be emerging as the Howard preference, would have become aware of the Howard/Costello/MacLachlan meeting and was the leader in Jan 1995 whose deputy told him he was supporting the Howard push.
As with all good conspiracies, there is no evidence but Downer has the motive – ambition and revenge – and it wouldn’t have been too hard to place the story through a third party with the journalist seen as being the major Costello booster on the whole planet – all very neat.”
I’m open to other theories, having none worth retailing of my own.

Posted by Graham at 1:14 pm | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. I think that perhaps Costello is tired, as we all are, of Howard squandering his opportunities for change. These include Aboriginal affairs, changes to health delivery, education, the situation with run down infrastructure (huge budget surplus)etc.
    We just seem to be drifting along and as long as Howard remains there this will continue. It is my hope that Costello and his followers think the time has come to stop the drift.

    Comment by Tony Kirwan — July 14, 2006 @ 3:25 pm

  2. Tony, Costello has little substantial reform to show for his years as Treasurer, why should we expect more from him as PM?

    Comment by Faustino — July 16, 2006 @ 9:35 pm

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