Costello’s Pre-selection – Does He Deserve It?

Well, the dead-line for Costello’s nomination for preselection fast approaches and we’re still to find out whether Costello will continue to play games with the Liberal Party or whether he will call and end to it. It is almost universally accepted by the Liberal Party that he will nominate himself (in which case, he’ll get the preselection unopposed).

If he does, the games could go on until just past the next election, where Malcolm Turnbull either wins (dashing Costello’s hopes of being the Liberal Messiah returned) or loses and faces challenges for leadership. If Costello doesn’t challenge for the leadership – he will lose any capability of doing so as the younger leaders step up to the plate. Having been handed the leadership on a silver platter and failing to challenge for the leadership twice – Costello’s ability to intimidate the competition will be greatly diminished.

I suppose it is also possible Costello will challenge before the next election, but I give that a snowball’s chance in hell of occurring.

That said, I have to wonder whether the guy deserves the preselection regardless of nomination. This is not an anti-Liberal thing, but a serious question about what we expect from our elected representatives. Costello has refused to take on the leadership (when offered) or to challenge for it. He has also refused the generally sought after right to be a member of shadow cabinet (not as highly sought after as the standard cabinet, but we’ll leave that be *grin*). If we are to believe him, and the continued claims of the Liberal Party, Peter Costello was one of the best Treasurers to grace the halls of Federal Parliament. If that is the case, isn’t it an obligation for him to provide his expertise to the Liberal Party in Opposition? Not just for the Party itself who, if we are to believe the polls, are not cutting through with their message of Labor’s supposed economic mismanagement; but also for his constituency? What would be better than leader of the party or (shadow) cabinet to ensure your voters needs/wants are represented in party & parliament business?

Seriously, refusing to step up for the hard work of Opposition Leader is one thing. It’s hard work, you’re almost guaranteed to be replaced before the election, and your trying to control the expectations of a party that just got voted out of power (not an easy thing). On the other hand, refusing to serve on the (shadow) cabinet implies you are simply living nicely on the public purse without aiding your party back into power. That’s not only bad for the Liberal’s (who might think the seat better filled by go-getter), but it’s bad for the tax-paying public who voted him in.

Update: Looks like Costello has decided not to sit. Thanks to scaper for the heads up.

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59 Responses

  1. Ben

    Just an aside becuase I can – I was just wondering whether we need a Costello Countdown on the blog… and maybe a poll on whether we think he will stay or go….and then you go and create a great thread on Costello – we must be psychic… hehe

  2. Thank Min. She brought up the topic and I thought it about time I get onto something else other than poking fun at Tom’s quaint beliefs 🙂

    A poll on the other hand would be good… can we edit this post for it?

  3. Very articulate post there Ben.

    I’m not sure whether Costello will challenge or not.

    Personally, I don’t feel he’s got the guts to mount a challenge without being 100% assured of the outcome.

    Malcolm seems to be making some headway as Opposition Leader in the polls, however as the election looms closer, I suspect that if Malcolm’s ratings don’t approach those of being a winning contendeor in the race he may well be ousted by Costello and his supporters if the polls suggest that Costello may have a better chance at winning.

    However, if the economy continues to improve, and the indications and general consensus is that it will, then the Liberals will really have a challenge on their hands to mount a compelling argument as to why Australia needs a change of government.

  4. And you avatar still scares me..!

  5. “Squirm” says he isn’t going anywhere. And that’s my only insight into the revealed inner monologue of Peter Costello at the level of his intentions: “That’s for me to know and you to find out, beotches”, “Ta-da, I’m back, beotches”, “Made you squirm, beotches”, “Squirm some more, beotches”.

  6. The observations of John Hewson and Paul Keating are spot on, in my book. Lazy, gutless, low-altitude flyer, no-balls, hammock-swinger… You know the routine.

    They’re the guys who would know. They’ve been party leaders and they know what it’s about. Being out of politics now, they have nothing to lose (or gain either) from speaking candidly about Costello, or anyone for that matter.

    Equally, I give little credence to Liberals when they bolster Costello’s standing, claiming him as the greatest treasurer ever. They’ve a vested interest in boosting their man, so they’re hardly impartial.

    Most unbiased observers, I’d have thought, understand that Costello was merely very lucky to be in the right place (treasurer’s chair) during a remarkable mining boom. Anyone in the position is gonna look good if they’re in the right place at the right time.

    Critics will point to how he wasted the rivers of revenue on vote-buying, setting in place a structural deficit, building nothing of lasting benefit to show for the once-in-a-generation boom.

  7. Reb..deep breathing required. Repeat this, it’s only Ben and Sherlock Holmes.

    Am very chuffed (with due respect, and wearing it that I think that I sound like Kevin Rudd).

    Anyway..back at the ranch..

    Am thinking also that it’s 90-10% that Costello will renominate. In which case, he is just a seat-warmer.

    If Costello renominates then this will not leave Turbnull many options re shuffling the cards. However, if Costello does decide to stand down then Turnbull will be given the opportunity to send in the A-Team. Let’s just see how selfish Costello is….

  8. I reckon Costello will make his decision based on Tuesday’s newspoll. The latest GDP and unemployment figures wont have helped Turnbull and he’s been pretty quiet for over a week now. If the polls start heading back the other way, Costello will see it as a chance.

    I reckon the Libs can do better than Costello. Bring in some new talent in a pretty safe seat.

  9. Sorry reb. I must ask – is it the sex appeal that scares you? (*winks at Min*)

    On Costello (a much less sexy personage than myself 😛 ), I reckon he is going to renominate for preselection and that the Liberal Party will uphold it. He’ll renominate because it is a safe seat and the perks on retiring after longer in Parliament beats down any other job he can obtain. The Liberal Party will give him the seat’s selection because they both want to believe he’ll come through for them and be their next John Howard (*laugh*) and he probably holds enough support in the party beside that hope to cause trouble for anyone that actually opposes him on it.

    That he doesn’t want to participate in the leadership/support of his party & country unless he can reign as Prime Minister is a reflection on just how shallow and undeserving he is.

  10. You’re probably right Dave55..that Costello will base his decision on the next newspoll. Umm…Turnbull’s popularity?

    (Min speaks cautiously to Reb..I think that this sex appeal thing has gone to Tol’s head, but let’s just humour him).

    Hi Ben..yes indeed your finely chiseled features cause a flutter in many a young lassies heart.

    But casting a critical eye into the tea leaves, Costello will never be PM. In fact I could be wrong about him even nominating given that Turnbull is keeping his head above water. Costello..who?

  11. “Having been handed the leadership on a silver platter and failing to challenge for the leadership twice”

    Twice in this parliament, he baulked twice when Keating was PM too, making it a total of four times now. I’m sure i don’t NEED to provide this link for anyone here, but here it is anyway: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rnwn4q_ZE9c

  12. My sex appeal aside, I don’t really think that Costello stands a chance at being Prime Minister. He’s failed to show gumption three times now and can easily be tied to WorkChoices again.

  13. Behind those finely chiselled features I suspect lies a Ben who’s heart is more firmly entrenched in educational and information technology related pursuits…

    But of course, I could be wrong….

    😉

  14. Notwithstanding your sex appeal, I think you may be right.

  15. thewetmale

    To be fair, his run during the Keating era was halted for a good reason – his 2IC for that was Abbott and the whole name thing simply wouldn’t have worked. Costello and Abbott just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  16. Thanks for the link to the video of Keating taking on Costello. They sure don’t make them as sharp as they used to. On a small bender watching some old Keating clips now. Was a young whipper snapper when he was in power so I missed most of his good moments 🙂

    And I think reb has me nailed dead to rights. My chiselled features and soul-piercing eyes are simply a façade to cover a computer nerd who mostly cares about politics because of his kids.

    Er, perhaps nailed was a poor choice of words… 😛

  17. I believe Costello will challenge but don’t understand why the coalition would want that.

    Lets face it, he’s got too much slime on him because he was the last PM’s side kick and it won’t be any time soon that swinging voters will forget their last two terms.

    There’s not a great deal of talent amongst the up and comers, they were educated in the ways of their leader which to me is like a form of political cannibalism.

    There are one or two possible shining lights in the lower ranks but will the party machine allow the talent to ascend?

    I believe there lies our dilemma, the party machines of both sides of politics are turning out poor quality leaders.

  18. Whoops…”poor quality representatives.”

  19. Here’s how some management academic types define leadership:

    Leadership Definition : Peter Drucker : The forward to the Drucker Foundation’s “The Leader of the Future” sums up leadership : “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.” To gain followers requires influence (see John Maxwell’s definition below) but doesn’t exclude the lack of integrity in achieving this. Indeed, it can be argued that several of the world’s greatest leaders have lacked integrity and have adopted values that would not be shared by many people today.

    Leadership DefinitionLeadership Definition : John C Maxwell : In the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell sums up his definition of leadership as “leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” This moves beyond the position defining the leader, to looking at the ability of the leader to influence others – both those who would consider themselves followers, and those outside that circle. Indirectly, it also builds in leadership character, since without maintaining integrity and trustworthiness, the capability to influence will disappear.

    Leadership DefinitionLeadership Definition : Warren Bennis : Warren Bennis’ definition of leadership is focused much more on the individual capability of the leader : “Leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential.”

    I’m not 100% sure Peter Costello has delivered on these Key Performance Indicators – especially the taking effective action mark.

  20. No worries B.Tolputt.

    I myself am too young to remember much more from before Howard brought in the GST. Youtube certainly is our friend. If you’re interested i would also recommend ‘recollections of a bleeding heart’ by Keating’s speech writer, Don Watson. A big book, but well worth it.

  21. And yes, we have been denied the glory of an Abbott and Costello dream team. If only Abbot was the more likely of the two to be PM, to get ahead of Cossie, and if we lived in America we could get all manner Abbott/Costello paraphernalia. (Think of all the Bush/Cheney or Obama/Biden signs.)

  22. Was a young whipper snapper when he was in power so I missed most of his good moments
    B.Tolputt, on June 12th, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    What good moments are these?? All i remember is having a mortgage with an interest rate of 18%- and then I lost my job.

    I do not have fond memories of Keating. He was faced with a worldwide recession that only lasted for 8 months and was relatively mild. It appears that govt policy made the recession he faced much worse. Hence this time they are spending sooner rather than latter. An admission that Treasury/ALP got it wrong last time.

    Guess what?? I think they got it wrong again and have saddled us with $300-$500B of debt.

    At least Costello was successful. He paid off all Keatings debt and then some

  23. Well, Costello is in the headlines again. If another one comes up over the weekend (not speculating on his nomination), I’d say the odds for him nominating for pre-selection increase to about 50-to-1 in my books.

    Personally, I think the Liberals need new blood. Not because I believe in their principles, but because taking on the guys from the previous government is like shooting fish in a barrel to Labor at the moment. Without a viable Opposition, the federal government could end up like NSW – with complete dicks in power and no alternative when it comes to elections!

  24. $500 billion now?

  25. $500 billion now?

    Hi Joni. Well Treasury says $300B and I just know they are going to be wrong. Do you agree??

    PS- sorry about the abuse the other day. I lost my temper

  26. It’s OK Neil – it happens from time to time – no offence was ever taken.

    But with the debt – do you accept that most of it is due to falling revenue as opposed to increased spending?

  27. “no offence was ever taken”

    I am a little disappointed at this. At the time I was angry so i was hoping you were offended!!!

    There is now way the Libs would have racked up so much debt. They would have not laid down and surrendered like the surrender monkeys of the ALP. They would have found a way to not get us into so much debt. Kennett did it in Victoria.

    For a start they would not have flushed $50B down the toilet. Costello would have told Ken Henry to go jump.

    I can’t answer your question because the Libs are not in power. I guess I do not know but I think they would have done a much better job. Rudd/Swan/Gillard have no clue what to do.

  28. But Neil – I did not ask what the libs would have done – I asked that the debt is mostly due to the fall in revenue – not spending increases (or the handouts).

  29. O.K. I don’t know. lets say Howard was faced with a fall in revenue. Maybe they would have found a way to cut spending without causing trouble. You know humans faced with pressure can invent and do things they never knew they were capable of. When the British were faced with Nazi Germany they did not surrender. They adapted. Under pressure humans can find solutions to problems.

    Unlike the surrender monkeys of the ALP

  30. Please keep coming back, Neil. You make me laugh.

  31. hehe – Neil can you answer the question? Or was your answer to joni’s question “I don’t know?”

  32. Ben – don’t be evil! LOL

  33. “I asked that the debt is mostly due to the fall in revenue”

    O.K. I do not know. What i do know is that our debt would not be as great under Howard/Costello.

    The ALP is good at only two things. Producing debt and unemployment- and they are hopeless at everything else

  34. Ben – don’t be evil! LOL

    Aw, c’mon… If I can’t have fun with Neil, who am I allowed to debate with?

    *pouts* 😛

  35. “Aw, c’mon… If I can’t have fun with Neil, who am I allowed to debate with?”

    Listen mate- $300B-$500B of debt is not a lot of fun. You may think that think this funny but i do not. Interest rates will now have to go up because the Australian govt is now competing with banks for money. They are borrowing money because of the cash splash and are competing with banks for this money.

    Next to go up will be unemployment. The unemployment rate was at 4.3% when howard was voted out of office.

  36. Good post Ben. Very elementary.

    In my opinion Costello also lacks maturity. My lasting image of him is his poor form he displayed heckling Rudd during the Rudd/Howard debate. The heckling was followed by the trademark childish giggle.

    His chldish heckling of Rudd again last week in Parliament was also poor form.

    And speaking of good looks: Not being one to brag, and being a modest sort of fellow, I must admit that I’m a bit of a chick magnet.

  37. Did anyone else notice Howard’s nod of agreeance at about the 30 second mark of thewetmale’s clip?

  38. I see Neil is copping a bit here for stating our debt could be as high as $500B.

    I suggest the number crunchers here should calculate the interest on $300B repaid over at least thirteen years before they totally dismiss Neil’s figure.

    Best allow for one recession at least in the repayment which will create a deferment in repayments for a period and see what figure you come up with.

  39. Youse that are all whinging about the government debt should take a good long hard look at yerslves.

    I did.

    It wasn’t good. It wasn’t long. It wasn’t hard.

    But aside from that, Straylia is in a really strong position compared to the US, Europe and the UK, arguably due to the world’ now best Treasurer Wayne Swan no doubt working in teamwork with Lindsay Tanner.

    Interest rates are low, real estate is affordable, the share market is recovering, The Aussie dollar is worth 80 odd cents US.

    What the hell else do youse want?

    Speaking of “teamwork” whatever happened to the Liberal party “team” that Howard was touting in the lead up to the last election?

    chortle chortle chortle…

  40. Listen mate- $300B-$500B of debt is not a lot of fun. You may think that think this funny but i do not. Interest rates will now have to go up because the Australian govt is now competing with banks for money. They are borrowing money because of the cash splash and are competing with banks for this money.

    Next to go up will be unemployment. The unemployment rate was at 4.3% when howard was voted out of office.

    Sorry, Neil – it was not the money I was poking fun at. It was you.

    You are predictable in your reactions (aggressive & Pro-Liberal) and joni was trying to prevent me from sending you into a tirade 🙂

  41. Sorry to have missed out on yesterday evening’s proceedings.

    I think we have if Costello renominates, that he has the opinion that the Liberals will lose the next election. Result: Turnbull will be tossed out and he, Costello will step in and become PM at the following election.

    However, if Costello does not renominate it will be because he thinks that Turnbull has a chance of winning the next election. Costello obviously isn’t going to sit on the back bench for ever, nor is he prepared to accept a portfolio under a Turnbull leadership.

    But then who knows with Costello, perhaps he is just happy wafting around with the Canberra golfing set and has no further political ambitions whatsoever.

  42. Only 15 days to go..Costello is cutting it a bit fine (if you’ll pardon the Australianism). Two weeks and what are the Liberal Party going to do if Costello doesn’t decide to renominate? You mean there is nobody standing up ready to take over? Well then, let’s take a punt and say that he will renominate.

  43. Neil, I don’t see any links to support any of your statements/accusations. I would have thought you’d follow your own rules and be dazzling the assembled commenters with your detailed and astonishing links complete with names, ranks and serial numbers.

    B.Tolputt, on June 13th, 2009 at 10:41 am Said:

    “Sorry, Neil – it was not the money I was poking fun at. It was you.

    You are predictable in your reactions (aggressive & Pro-Liberal) and joni was trying to prevent me from sending you into a tirade 🙂 ”

    BT, I think it’s your patriotic duty to send Neil into a frenzy and you should do so forthwith.

    Costello really is all tip and no iceberg. He’ll nominate alright, who else will give the bugger a job?

  44. Oh c’mon Nel/scaper why stop at $500 billion, the opposition didn’t, Hockey said it will be one trillion dollars.

    Just plucking numbers out of thin air doesn’t make them right and stating you believe it will be x amount purely because of your ideology also doesn’t make the figure right.

    If you can’t back up the $500 billion figure then you’re just pissing in the wind as usual. Yes in all likelihood the Treasury figure is not going to be right, Rudd and Swan have said as much, but currently taking what they know into account then its the best figure there is.

    And Neil saying the Libs would not have as big a debt by somehow plucking a miracle out of thin air that not only made up for the revenue loss but did so without hurting anyone is utter nonsense. The Libs have already stated they would have an equivalent debt with the only differentiation being they would have splurged on rounds of large tax cuts, which mostly only benefit the wealthy.

    Think of it Neil, the other nations in the world who are in a far worst state than Australia went for mostly tax cuts instead of stimulus, and they have far bigger deficits than us as well.

    Also much of our stimulus is going into strategic infrastructure, so when you come up with you $500 billion figure did you count the appreciation cost of that infrastructure? That is vital infrastructure the Libs you so highly praise neglected for 11½ years, meaning that if it is not done now it will cost future generations far more.

    There is Costello’s biggest failure, and he knew it as well. He stated he was against Howard’s reckless and wasteful spending yet he did little to stop it. He also stated that unsustainable rising personal debt was a problem at a time Howard was saying it was a sign of affluence. Costello also warned of the harder times ahead during the election, yet he went along with policies that were all based around increased government spending (thus government debt) and no investment in infrastructure.

    So I guess the question I have for those who state Howard or the LIbs would have been our saviour is just when do you think they would have spent the hundreds of billions needed for infrastructure, and if they were planning on it how were they going to do it without going into debt? Or were they just going to keep on ignoring it as they had for over a decade and let some future government spend ten times as much to make up for their slackness.

  45. And don’t forget that interest rates will always be lower under a coalition government.

  46. Here we ago again, using the last government as some type of standard to adjudge this one!

    I put my bit in here because Neil might be closer to the truth than people want to admit.

    Using the appreciation argument is useless unless the maintenance factor is calculated into the sum, I suppose the money being invested into school that are earmarked for closure will appreciate too.

    Education Revolution, my arse!

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25628853-601,00.html

    Can’t this government get anything right?

  47. But that story of the money going to schools earmarked for closure is a beat up by the OO:

    Except, erm, on closer inspection, that wasn’t quite right, as the story itself admitted. In South Australia, 15 of the national total of 21 “axed” schools aren’t set to close  — or, actually be amalgamated with other schools  — until 2011, and eight of those are receiving funding for ICT equipment like electronic whiteboards. Which are, you know, able to be moved to other schools.

    In fact the South Australian Education Department explicitly told the journalists that all the funding would go on transportable items. Still, apparently that’s a case of “millions handed to axed schools in stimulus debacle.”

  48. A beat up…maybe but I bet carton of beer and a chook that there is some scrambling going on now.

    Disregard my link as those people are most probably coalition stooges who don’t give a stuff about education!

  49. No – nothing wrong with the story per se, just that it was trying to make out it was a waste of money when it is not.

  50. So scaper you would have preferred Howard had won the election and then education would have got nothing… …no I take that back, non-wealthy education institutions and public education would have gotten very little and now be even further run down, as would have health, social services, transport and much more.

    And even Defence has gotten more from this government than it ever did from the previous one or was promised by the previous one. Also this Defence spending, like their infrastructure spending, is well thought out strategic planning, whereas under the previous government Defence spending was hodge podge based on how well it would go down with the electorate.

    So are you now saying that because of the cost of running and maintaining infrastructure that it should never be built or it should only be built if the government can prove that it and future governments will never ever go into debt, otherwise infrastructure should just be abandoned.

  51. PLEASE NOTE: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS ASSERTIONS AND COMMENTARY. READ WITH CARE!!

    Ben, you lead on this thread contains a range of unqualified assertions.

    Consistency in the application of your own standards means that you must now qualify each as a fact or an opinion.

    I require your correction in specific terms, and I’ll advise further when I consider that you have met my requirements.

    Further, I am concerned that you have asserted on another thread that you have a tertiary education. It is becoming evident that this is not the case. Your spelling and grammar are at such a level that any participation in post primary level education by you is entirely lacking in evidence.

    I require evidence of your assertion of any form of education by 7am on 14 June, 2009

    Failure to comply with my requirements will only prove that I “win” (whatever it was that you repeatedly sought to “win”).

    Your cooperation will ensure the orderly conduct of discussion on this thread.

    Thankyou in advance for your assistance in meeting the standards that apply to our contributions.

    B.Tolputt: Leave you whining for the other thread, Tom. Remain on topic.

  52. I want to know why Neil hasn’t followed Neilrules and coughed up links with plenty of names we all approve of. So how about putting up or shutting up!!!

    FWIW, Peter Newman had a letter published in the OO refuting the published story.

  53. Education Revolution, my arse!

    Julia Gillard was in Tasmania last week announcing that some $81 million (I think) will be spent in schools.

    Sounds like a pretty solid indication of at least planning for the future of our schools, unlike the Howard govt that favoured propping up those needy North Shore private schools.

  54. Julia Gillard was in Tasmania last week announcing that some $81 million (I think) will be spent in schools.

    Are you sure that’s not on scools, Reb? If so, that’s a completely different proposition: that $81 million will undoubtedly improve the buildings and infrastructure of schools, but will it ‘revolutionise’ education in any way – by actually improving students’ educations?

  55. Reb, I suppose giving money to my old stamping ground and the like is acceptable?

    Education revolution, my big toe!!!

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25623569-5013480,00.html

  56. It’s interesting that in the 55 posts on this subject alone not one mention has been made of the people of Higgins. They love him. He is a very effective local member and is very visible in his electorate. For all the talk of his “languishing” on the back bench, he is in Opposition and after 11 years as Treasurer, he is entitled to focus his energies on local issues, which he is doing.

  57. Agreed James. Just wondering what you think of the latest offering for Petro’s electorate of Kooyong (for non Victorian’s also another ‘north shore’ electorate). The people of Kooyong love Petro and my impression is that the latest offering of accountants for preselection (apologies to accountants) is very bland. Frydenburg the lead contender is right wing (I think) which is chalk and cheese to Petro’s centre/left.

  58. Wow, Scaper, surprising news. Let’s see if Malcolm can rise to the occasion now he’s got that ‘monkey’ off his back.

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