Costello as Lazarus, Turnbull as the Hollywood star?

Last night, the greatest PM that never was, Peter Costello made a spectacular and hilarious appearance on Lateline. Well, when I say hilarious – Peter laughed at his own jokes.

My favourite part was when Costello made an aside that Rudd’s essay in Monthly Essay will lift the sales. Now – I wonder how Peter’s biography is going?

Anyway – the point of this post is – are we seeing the return of the un-annointed king to the political spotlight? Does he think that he should be the rightfull leader of the Liberal party?

I wonder if we are heading for a Howard/Peacock type of power struggle where Peter is playing John (ex-treasurer, unloved by his own party) and Malcolm is playing Andrew (suave, rich, believes his own publicity).

Anyway – let’s keep all of the comment about Costello in this thread.

68 Responses

  1. Mr Costello has gone from being conspicuous by his absence in the political debate, to becoming spectacularly re-engaged – overnight.

    His motives are anybody’s guess, but one suspects they’ve got nothing to do with Malcolm calling him off the reserves bench.

  2. Et tu, Peterus?

  3. It’s often commented that the Liberals ‘do’ opposition badly. Perhaps this is a result of the born-to-rule complex that finds them like a fish out of water when they lose an election. They just don’t seem to emotionally tolerate the democratic principle that parties are forced to ‘take it in turns’. They want it all for themselves, all the time, no matter how badly they transgress against the electorate when in government.

    The presence of Costello on the backbench for 15 months, breathing down Nelson’s, and now Turnbull’s neck, is destabilising to the leadership and the party itself. They have been generous to a fault in entertaining the petulant and self-indulgent behaviour of the sulking smirker. I believe they must be desperate not to have already given him an ultimatum.

    This is a desperation borne of both lack of viable leadership alternatives and the self-destructiveness that afflicts them particularly hard when out of office.

    They are notorious for frequent leadership switches in Opposition (as indeed Labor are), so, going on history, Turnbull looks likely to face the knife sometime before the election. Whether he is replaced by the Smirker would appear (again, going on history) unlikely. No doubt the desperate Liberals will continue to allow Costello hold them hostage to his selfish narcissism, as the party lurches from bad leader (Turnbull) to worse (whosoever may be his replacement).

  4. I spent much of the Lateline interview, jaw dropped, watching this clown perform. Amazing stuff. Didn’t answer a question. Made up a new “spin phrase” (or he’d been given one) – “a bad spend”.

    Seemed fascinated with the acronym APRA.

    Didn’t say what he would do – although given a number of opportunities…

    …avoided the question on neo-liberalism and runaway capitalism and chose to bag Rudd instead (still that’s politics)…

    …he giggled and smirked just like a schoolgirl who’d been allowed out late – possible PM, my arse!

    Compared to PJK’s interview – none!

    Finally I couldn’t stop saying to the screen – “…sit up straight, Peter…”, talk about “flop” about…

    …the Liberal Party and its supporters must have sqirmed…

    …Mr Custard indeed!


    So what’s next, we’ve had the two previous Treasurers, should be Julie Bisop 😯 the hopeful and then, Wayne Swan, the incumbent?

  5. Joni, I have to dispute about Costello being ‘un-annointed’. He has most definitely been some churchie person..remember the prayer sessions.

    Costello addresses Hillsong congregation
    Reporter: Tony Jones

    TONY JONES: I spoke with Treasurer Peter Costello a short time ago just outside the Sydney Superdome, after his address to the congregation.


    And previously annointed by JWH as his logical successor. However, re the later one could suggest that Costello was later de-annointed.

  6. I watched the episode from the web-supplied video (on the Lateline website) and what really bugged me was the excessive sighing Costello was doing. Listen carefully to the interview and you will note that Costello sighed EVERY time Tony asked him a question. EVERY TIME!

    I got the feeling he wanted different questions to be asked (though the “bad spend” spin was obviously something he wanted to get out there) and Tony wasn’t interested in it.

    I have a feeling Costello is putting himself back into contention for the leadership as he simply is not wanted elsewhere (at least not at the money he wants for the job). Not that he wants it now, but he doesn’t want to be forgotten.

  7. B.Tolputt, on February 4th, 2009 at 11:36 am Said: Not that he wants it now, but he doesn’t want to be forgotten.

    …oh! He won’t be forgotten, BT, but he won’t be remembered the way he would want! 😉

  8. The constant “sighing” is a liberal party trait. Queen Alexandra and the Mad Monk also have “sighing” down to a fine art.

    It’s like their mere presence should be sufficient for television appearances without having to respond to impertinent questions from mere mortals.

  9. Typical politics, hide in the back benches, let others suffer the leadership while on the nose, slowly re enter the public eye and in the end snatch the leadership at the perceived correct time to be opposition leader for the next election.

  10. Here comes Costello. The timings right, Malcolm is on the ropes, there’s a year and half (or so) left till the next election and Rudd’s in total domination.

    I do believe”it’s on”

  11. I agree shane. Costello is banking on negative publicity re Turnbull and his opposition to the stimulus package. Traa daa, Costello will answer the call. After all, this has been pre-ordained via Costello’s annointing.

    Quote: The Lord told me to spend some personal time with Prime Minister John Howard and to prophetically prepare Federal Treasurer Peter Costello as the future Prime Minister of Australia. (I don’t know the exact timing, but I was obedient to the voice of God).

  12. at all possible to have a link supplied to last nights show,… please.

  13. Nevermind.

  14. aquanut,

    The video is available but the transcript isn’t up yet.

  15. Thank you, Huh.
    I will learn to use google one day. cheers

  16. I think the first half of the interview was pretty poor from Costello. I think what he was trying to say was that these packages need to do a bit more than just jump start the economy, and whilst Westfield may have reported a boost, it was only temporary and the money has now gone without a lasting effect on the economy. He articulated that pretty badly, as well as the difference between deficit and surplus spending and and why deficits are bad. He seems idealogically opposed to deficits and I don’t see why. It appears to me to be a bit of opportunistic political point scoring.

    The second half of the interview was I thought the opposite. I thought he was much more certain of his ground and his record, helped mightily by the Gillard wedge he inserted towards the end. In one half of an interview he laid more blows on the government than Turnbull and Nelson have managed in 14 months.

  17. What a cracker! I know what Janet needs and it’s not a stiff drink.

    PM dumps facade for ideological dream
    TIMING is everything in politics. Far from it being rotten luck for the Rudd Government to assume power as the global financial crisis took hold, the downturn presents Kevin Rudd with an astonishing opportunity.

    Armed with a handy surplus, the present problems enable him to indulge in orgiastic spending, fulfilling the social democrat’s long-held ideological dreams yet dressing them up as a prudent economic response to the times. Moreover, Rudd has grabbed this unparalleled opportunity for some revisionist myth-making designed to spin a new political ascendancy for the next, and subsequent, elections

  18. Althought the libral party was mentioned i believe he ment to say the peter party.

  19. Hi Mat, welcome.

    i really cant disagree with you but i can add this, he is moving along and the fact Costello had to jump into public view must mean, Rudd is doing a better job then first thought by the librals at this stage in the game.

    reason i could not disagree with you is both sides play games with mirrors and words.

  20. Gee, I just watched the clip and I’d have to agree with most of what Costello said…spending our money on handouts is no investment in the future, it was for short term gain and now another $12 billion plus for another short term gain and we haven’t even gone into recession yet!

    Will there be anything left when it will be needed most???

    I’m all for the spending on schools, roads and other infrastructure as that is long term benefit opposed to the blowing it at the shops which have taken in the cash and are now laying people off as the orgy is over.

    Interesting how the shoot the messenger is well and alive.

  21. Malcolm Turnbull: “It’s my job to be contrary for the sake of being contrary, that’s what opposition leaders do, don’t they”

    Hi Aquanut

    I’m heartened by the fact that the Rudd Government have spelled out their ideology and are willing to give it a real crack. This crisis is really unprecedented and can’t even be compared to 1929 or 1987. Globalisation and the intricacies that it brings, along with lax oversight and deregulation over a number of years has brought this house of cards tumbling down, in no uncertain terms.

    The Howard Government were champions of the whole process and actually caught a ride on the back of a boom that was not only driven by China’s thirst for resources but increased spending on housing and consumer goods that is unmatched in the history of lending.

  22. That is where the opposition have got it so wrong, and Costello reinforces it whilst in question time at the moment Turnbull is also attempting (very badly) to paint the 10.4 billion as a total waste because it had no long lasting effect.

    The 10.4 billion did in part what it was intended to and the people know it as do most institutions, it appears only the opposition have missed it, which looks very bad for them.

    With an unfolding and constantly changing situation before Christmas there were calls for the government to do something to get the country through Christmas, after which another assessment could be made and further measures taken.

    The government package got us through Christmas where many retail workers managed to keep their jobs and the banking industry were able to keep lending. It also got the pensioners through to the next May budget.

    Many parts of the economy are still going because of that package and many businesses are still in business because of it.

    If Costello wants to remain blind to that in attempting to point score against the government then he is on as much a losing trip as Turnbull is.

  23. My point is that if there doing such a bad job let the election deside, why help them.

    from what i can remember the handout was egged on by the opposition in the early stages when Rudd wanted to think about it.

    We need a new party to b*tch about

  24. James of North Melbourne

    I think that summed up the interview pretty well.

    There are some solid political points that hte Liberals can make through this, and I suspect that they will be palying the deficit card quite a lot.

    They need to be careful in that the Australian poulace is not as innocent as it once was when it comes to this.Also, his continual claiming about APRA being the saviour of our financial system became tiring. I am not sure how much that had to do with anything because, from my understanding, the framework was already there, this merely moved it under the one controlling body. I would love to know if my assumption here is correct.

    I do agree that moving it under the one body was a good move.

  25. Aqua, it’s not a hand out aka what Turnbull wanted viz tax cuts but that most of the money will go to lower income earners.

    I certainly can’t argue with insulation for older houses, which compares with a 1st home owners grant.

  26. Adrian of Nowra

    The opposition are proving that there hinesight vison is as impaired as their foresight.

    Their answer pre-Christmas was what??

    Oh yeah, tax cuts.

  27. Min

    The insulation is stroke of genius, especially for those suffering through heat waves in SA and Vic. And the ongoing benefits are immeasurable, both economically and environmentally.

  28. I think, Tom, the point he is trying to make is that APRA was essentially the merging a various regulatory bodies. The distinction he drew with the US is that they have the bodies in place, but due to their diversity, they became ineffective. I don’t blame him for harping on the APRA point. It’s like Keating harping on the dividend imputation point. It was a huge reform and it’s undeniable that, whether as a direct consequence or not, and Gillard is claiming apparently that it is, our banks are in very good comparitive shape.

    I think that playing the deficit card too heavily is about as cheap as playing the interest rate card. Intelligent voters won’t fall for it and those voters that do will be waiting with sledgehammers when the Libs run a budget deficit in the future.

  29. And perhaps the opposition should be reading the papers

    Kevin Rudd’s first stimulus plan boosts retail sales

    Housing is still in the slumps, but that is really to be expected. Lets hope that turns around.

  30. Tom. I thought that I would have to fly down to Melbourne to rescue my mum. We bought her a cooler but knowing her she would have been reluctant to turn it on due to power bill costs. Insulation would be a god-send not only for summer but trying to keep warm in winter.

  31. dividend imputation point??

    Lost me there James, but yes, the point is made about APRA, although, to be fair, we had 4 bodies, whereas America had 30 -40. Theres were seperated by state, I think, whereas our were by institution.

  32. Dividend imputation is the removal of income tax on share dividends to the extent that tax had already been paid at company level………and others don’t beat me up for what is meant to be a simple explanation for something a bit more complex. It’s a good thing, Tom, and Keating never shuts up about it, and rightly so.

  33. Adrian at 3.11, can you provide evidence that the $10.4 billion was just to get us through Christmas? I don’t believe you.

  34. After finally having a chance to listen to the Lateline interview, I am struggling to find fault with most of what Costello said, either factually or logically.

    It is obvious that many here dislike the man – and I really don’t know if that’s just partisanship, or whether there’s an honest belief that he’s dishonest, or incompetent, or has some other combination of character faults which allows for such obvious contempt.

    If there is someone here who can point out the errors in his arguments, though, and not the faults in his personality, I’d love to hear them.

  35. James of North Melbourne at 3:46 pm

    Why don’t you believe me James?

  36. Tony, the answer is yes.

    ..he’s dishonest, or incompetent, or has some other combination of character faults which allows for such obvious contempt..

  37. I don’t believe you because on a quick search of the ALP media releases I can find no mention of it being a starting point to get us through Christmas.

    I don’t believe you because I cannot fathom a government dropping $10.4 billion to get us through Christmas.

    I don’t believe you because you have form.

  38. Dishonest…incompetent…standard requisites to have any future in politics thanks to the ludicrous party structures in place!

    Will someone answer Tony’s question?

  39. With apologies scaper, the only transcript that I can find is audio with only a few written bits and pieces. Obviously, I cannot access audio.

  40. James of North Melbourne, on February 4th, 2009 at 4:05 pm Said:

    I don’t believe you because you have form.

    That is what I thought.

    Get stuffed James, you also have “form”.

  41. Tony, My fault with his arguement is:
    In order to be an effective opposition they need to do this interjection at the begining of the process not at the end. (wheres was he a month ago)
    Tony the only message in that interview that held strong afterwards was that Peter wanted people to hate the report as much as he did.
    If he made some good points well horay for him, glad he knows a thing or two after all this time.

  42. Tosy

    I am a swinging voter.

    I liked Peter Costello originally and voted for them twice, however I then started to see the change and the tilting of the axis to the extreme favour of big business.

    I saw that our infrastructure was being allowed to decay while doing nothing but blame the states for 12 years.

    After blaming the states and previous government for 5 years I thought it was about time they stopped, but it continued until the day they were thrown out.

    How long do you let the population suffer the destruction of public services and essential services due to blind ideology.

    I was horrified at friends of mine losing their previous benefits and being offered lower salaries under workchoices by greedy employers who jumped on the band wagon as soon as it became legislation.

    I saw the wealthy receive thousands of dollars a week in tax cuts while the poor received a few morsels ( please do not use percentages as people do not live on percentages they live on actual dollars in the hand)

    I saw a GST introduced that was promised would Never Ever be introduced.

    I witnessed my parents get morsels as aged pensioners while being told they are getting more than the CPI and in fact better off, only to have Tony Abbott apologise to me and admit they did not cover the costs that pensioners incurred let alone actually make them better off.

    With me it was not ideology it was the slow build up of disillusionment and disbelief that they would listen to the extremists alone and base their decisions solely on economic factors and not human factors.

    After all they are the Liberal Party, not the right wing extreme capitalist party they became.

  43. There was nothing factually wrong with Costello, but that is not the point.

    He did not answer any of the question put to him by Tony Jones on what he would have done if he was in government. He distorted the article by Rudd by claiming that the neo-liberal tag was meant to mean the Liberal party, when in fact it is referring to the neo-conservative movements.

    And his “I would have saved us from this” manner was arrogant in the extreme.

    If he wanted to be of value then he should have offered some solutions intead of being completely negative – which at least Turnbull and Bishop do try to do.

  44. Via a different interview with Tony Jones:

    TONY JONES: You’ve just mentioned the downside to the boom, that it could be inflationary. The IMF are obviously worried about that. They’re suggesting the inflation in Australia could lead to further interest rate rises this year. Do they know something that we don’t?

    PETER COSTELLO: No, they don’t…

  45. Adrian, you asked why I didn’t believe you. I gave 3 reasons all co-dependant. You frequently pass off opinion and supposition as fact, this Christmas thing is an example. I asked for evidence, you asked why I didn’t believe you, I gave you 3 reasons, not 1, you told me to get stuffed. Now is this Christmas stuff a supposition or was it announced policy?

  46. Tony

    Costello isn’t stupid, however, he played second fiddle to Howard for so long that he lost any balls he may have had when he initially entered politics. Everything, he, and the rest of his colleagues utter is done from the standpoint of hindsight and on the other side of the table.

    Lack of credibility is the problem no matter how hard he, and his colleagues try to paint the picture.

  47. I am a swinger too, how many swingers on this site?

  48. Well said Mat.
    wish i could off been less offencive in my comment.
    After 11 years Tony you are correct with assuming i have personal issues with some of the old crew of the libral party.

  49. Swing voter that is!

  50. Mat


  51. i will swing from paying a fine for not voting to maybe listening to one side and voting for them when things start affecting my life or the way of life around me.

  52. I frequently lie, is what you are asserting?

    Thing is when I make a comment without supporting sources or links and it’s challenged, I then provide links showing I was correct in my statement, but that is ignored.

    Why bother with you James, makes no difference as you will never acknowledge the facts of the source anyway if they don’t conform to your view of things?

  53. Should be a pretty easy thing to evidence, Adrian. Just quotes.

  54. I’m a swinging voter that is realising that both sides are so bereft of talent that there needs to be a new political force established to cater for the disfranchised voters.

    I have a plan…

  55. “I have a plan…“

    We’re doomed.

  56. I have a plan too.

    A party with private enterprise ideals yet governing for all with a social conscience.

  57. Back to joni’s topic. The poor bloke is at loose offers that tempt him and the media keep egging him on re a comeback.

  58. A conservative, environmental socialist party???

  59. I seem to be an unaligned social liberal who mostly thinks that those in public office quite often are self-serving bastards who need to be kept honest, given the will to power and the tendency to accumulate power for power’s sake. I doubt I swing too much from that line. I’m pretty sure that stance makes me not a social democrat, however; just as it doesn’t make me a free-marketeer.

    I’d like Kevin to explain how arm flapping differs from arm crossing in a bit more actual economic detail, rather than leaving it hanging mid-air as a self-evident kinda thing. But that’s just me. Like I was raising with Shane earlier, throwing dribs and drabs at tiny sectors of an economy to stimulate parts of aggregate demand doesn’t tell me anything about how that mechanism is expected to interface with the rest of the economy or maintain the health of the economy in its particulars, which economy in toto isn’t all about a government’s bottomline nor even necessarily about maintenance of aggregate demand, without indicating what’s happening within that aggregate demand.

  60. I’m just a mum 🙂

  61. With’s just a play on terms..I’m a this and I’m a that etc etc. And when push came to shove I thought, well I’m just a mum.

  62. Tony of South Yarra, on February 4th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    What arguments? Custard just waffled, aimlessly, great comedy but he WAS touted as an alternative PM…

    shaneinqld, on February 4th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Shane, that’s not a plan that’s a dream – one I passionately share (the DREAM only, I’ve read your previous posts!)

    Legion, on February 4th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    …mechanism is expected to interface with the rest of the economy or maintain the health of the economy in its particulars, which economy in toto isn’t all about a government’s bottomline nor even necessarily about maintenance of aggregate demand, without indicating what’s happening within that aggregate demand…

    Yer doin’ it again, Legion! What does that mean? (Shakes head for the tenth time…) 😯

  63. Legion, on February 4th, 2009

    Oh, just the usual, TB. Aggregate demand doesn’t consist solely of consumption, especially not just consumption within very limited sectors, nor does one segment of aggregate consumption just substitute for another without secondary effects, nor again does artificially stimulating consumption via the mechanisms employed across those limited sectors necessarily do anything much about getting credit flowing again or maintaining private infrastructures that may or may not be doing an equal amount of work in securing jobs or productivity. Like others, I’d like to see a bit more transparency and not just a fistful of dollars flashed around; especially as the thing IS going to be a long and bumpy ride.

  64. Legion, on February 5th, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Ahh! Yes, I agree…

  65. John Mc has been bugging me for some time to take a look at this site and I’ve got to say I’m quite impressed. I’m hoping to visit more often, you all seem like a nice and informed bunch of people.

  66. “I’m hoping to visit more often”

    Please do, your posts so far have been quite interesting.

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