There’s Still A Light, But It’s Over At The Frankenstein Place

This morning’s press conferences were like a plumber’s yard pitch session. Kim was concerned at “connection” problems while Simon had major issues with “destabilisation” Both could do you a really good deal on the rectification front. Simon lashed out at those who were – inexplicably – trying to chuck him, while Kim – a recent convert to the art of simple communication – promised the sort of Australian Family vision thing that you can get across in words of no more than two syllables. I’m assuming that will involve the permanent exile of Barry Jones. Both were very fond of each other of course. Simon was certain that Australian Families didn’t want this sort of thing going on and so was Kim – he plans to disconnect Simon accordingly. Simon just wants this stuff to stop and if you need anything stopped – he’s your man, apparently.

Meanwhile the ironically-named Harry Quick thinks Kim is an old fart and Carmen Lawrence is urging Lindsay Tanner to throw his hat – and hopefully his person – into the leadership stakes. He’s assured of her vote even though his connnection and restabilisation skills aren’t all that obvious. He is for Australian Families however.

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2022 years ago

There’s clearly quite a lot for Australian Families to think about there Geoff. Meanwhile, I’ve been talking to a mate over in Perth about the other side of politics. I know, I know, I’m already derailing your post, but it’s interesting all the same.

As I’ve recently boasted over at Tim Dunlop’s place, I won a CD of choice of this bloke on the Howard-would-he-or-won’t-he-retire question, with me mate betting he would prefer to secure his legacy by leaving at a high point. OK, so now he’s coughing up the CD, but we got to talking, and we agreed that his reasoning may in fact prove to be right.

The problem with Jack Howard taking a walk at this point is that Costello would automatically take over … and this is exactly what would lead to a prompt dismantling of much of the Howard legacy … given their different positions on the Republic, reconciliation and the ‘t’ word. We then imagined the Howard conference with Madam DeFarge, er, sorry, dear lady Jeannette, which confirmed to us that there is no way Jack is going to be able to leave and have all that stuff reversed on him.

The securing of the Howard legacy demands handing on the PM’s job to someone like Abbott. Standby to watch ol’ Pete Costello get the bum’s rush, Howard style … and then he may retire … but hopefully not before the next election … or I’ll owe me mate 2 CDs …

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Well maybe Chris. But Costello was on record today in Adelaide explaining that he believed in “practical reconciliation” rather than saying sorry and suchlike and also claiming responsibility – and no small measure of pride – for what he claimed as a pivotal role in formulating the Coalition’s border protection policy. There’ll be little in there I suspect to assist with your CD leverage anticipation.

I don’t know where this idea has come from that Costello is some sort of Carmen Lawrence in man drag. He’s as buttoned-up Tory as they come…

2022 years ago

Can’t go along with you there Geoff, although I’m sure Costello will be playing a little on both sides of the fence.

Costello’s main public support comes from economic-social liberals – the ‘serious men’ who backed Keating and Hewson. The Australian’s Paul Kelly and Michael Stutchbury are emblematic of the class.

This group have been prepared to wear Howard because they think he’s always worth a shot for more economic reform; but they have also had to place a peg on their noses because the PM is such an unacceptable social throwback in civilised company.

Their solace has been to back Howard while placing their hopes for Australia’s future in Costello. If Costello doesn’t deliver progress on the liberal social front .. they’ll have to have a very hard look at themselves … and some will walk … and Labor will finally have a wedge of its own. They, like us all, can put up with almost anything … provided we believe it’s only temporary.

Costello of course knows this: I bet he has every Paul Kelly column ever written .. about himself.

2022 years ago


Today’s blatherings reinforce my point, and it’s not just the ‘serious men’ of the Australian who are only concerned about ‘serious men’s buisiness’ (‘economic reform’). From Kitney in today’s SMH:

“If Howard had decided to retire and hand over to Costello, Australia would in all likelihood have been set on a new course even without a change of government. Costello’s reference to his belief in the need for “a more tolerant Australia” was seen as a hint that he would implement a more modern and more liberal social and cultural agenda.”

And Mike Seccombe in the same:

“Instead, [Costello] said he would hang on, but pointedly refused to rule out a challenge to Howard. He also talked about his own policy agenda. “I want to see Australia be everything it can possibly be. I want to see it prosperous and strong and secure and tolerant, and I want it to be able to fulfil all of those objectives and I want to make a contribution to that,” he said.

The reference to tolerance was quite deliberate, as Costello showed by repeated use of the word in subsequent media performances. The chink in Howard’s armour is that he is widely perceived to lack that quality. Costello said his colleagues would “expect” him to speak up on issues.

Liberal moderates and centrists – perhaps up to one-third of the party room, although it is hard to be sure because many have been hiding their lights – are uncomfortable with the Howard social agenda. Costello’s record shows he is more progressive on a variety of social issues. He walked for reconciliation; he is a republican; he has avoided fear-mongering about external threats to Australia. He was, in fact, the first member of the Government, very shortly after the Bali bombings, to talk of the risks of disengaging from the region.”

In short, I surmise that Howard’s decision to publicly commit is all about securing the Dark One’s legacy, and really should be read as a declaration that he no longer fears a Costello challenge. It follows that the Dark One’s game now is to install a different successor, one who will perpetuate the Howard legacy … and the evidence thus far is that Costello just hasn’t got a clue what’s going on …. and is gunna just walk right on into his own demise.