Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Libs Want Costello, But Does He Want Them?

Speculation continues in the media about whether former Howard government Treasurer, Peter Costello, will be recruited to the leadership of the Opposition. (photo: abc.net.au)

Costello, as Treasurer, was described by many as an accomplished Parliamentary performer, known for: his evil-looking smirk; his quick wit; and his theatrics.

Speculation about his future is driven by the retirement of several former senior members of the Howard government: Alexander Downer, Peter McGauran, and Mark Vaile. John Howard lost his seat of Bennelong at the election in November.

While a number of Liberal right-wing members have thrown their support behind Mr Costello. But would he want it? He will have gone from treasurer, and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party in government, to lowly Opposition backbencher, to leading an Opposition likely to remain there for at least two parliamentary terms. The Opposition is fragmented, current leader Brendan Nelson is seen as ineffective, they can't decide on their current policy on carbon trading and pollution reduction, many of it s potential leaders, including Costello, will be tainted for years by John Howard's WorkChoices, funding cuts to public education, and a legacy of rising inflation from an overheated economy: an economy that Peter Costello didn't control in the last 3 years.

Having already declined the leadership after the election, leadership of the Federal Liberal Party, and Opposition Leader, might well be a poisoned chalice not to Peter Costello's liking.