Originally posted 7-Dec-2008 at truepolitik.myperspective.org.au
Peter Costello has warmed a seat on the backbench since John Howard lost the Federal election in Dec 2007. He declined the position as Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party, & Leader of the Opposition. He had hoped to be offered a plum job outside politics, but the current international financial & economic crisis has closed many doors. Their motives could be: Costello to unseat Malcolm Turnbull; or some people are eying-off Costello’s very safe seat of Higgins.
Now the Melbourne Liberal “Establishment” want him to declare whether he will contest the next election. So to, do Wilson Tuckey and Tony Abbott, both of whom would like to unseat present Liberal, & Opposition, Leader, Malcolm Turnbull. Indeed, Wilson Tuckey is now suggesting that party-room votes on policy be secret votes. There is hypocrisy behind this. Firstly, he never dared suggest that under John Howard; secondly Howard used him occasionally to ensure Liberals openly voted as they should; thirdly, Tuckey knows that party-room votes should be open - from an organisational perspective.
Turnbull’s image among the likes of “ironbar” Tuckey and “mad monk” Abbott, and the Melbourne “establishment” are: he’s not “Establishment rich”, he’s neauveau riche; and he is seen as too ’small-l’ liberal. This ‘liberalism’ fits with (party founder, Sir Robert) Menzies’ views, but is an anathema to the extreme right of the Liberal Party, including Costello. Costello has previously admitted he would have made WorkChoices legislation more extreme. Julie Bishop, Tony Abbott, & Wilson Tuckey agree. Turnbull dropped the policy after the rout at the Federal election. Others do not want ‘liberalism’, or even economic reasonableness, to become or remain party policy. The far Right wants Turnbull to go.
They want the Liberal Party to return to the reactionary, pro-rich, White-Australia, anti-worker party it was under John Howard.