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HOWARD AND COSTELLO July 12, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Category to be ascribed.
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The ground has shifted, as evidence to me by the tone of Costello’s replies I heard on News Radio this morning. I then to agree with Tim Dunlop, who characterizes Howard as a dead duck, but said the relationship between Howard and Costello is now irredeemably broken.

Costello may in a sense be back in his box, but Howard is now we are told locked into a position where he cannot resign, and ride off into the sunset. So who is suffering from hubris? At the next election does Howard then claim that he will continue as long as his party wants him in the leadership position – the indispensable man of Australian politics.

I am inclined to believe that a deal was done in 1994, and that seems to me the most sensible way to resolve leadership issues. All the talk from both candidates about their party colleagues is just bunkum, as is all the talk about the talent in the Liberal Party, and of what there is, much of it is in the backbenchers – and I wonder how that works.

The ball is now in Howard’s court. What will he do? What should he do? The problem is that Howard does not have an alternative life plan, and prime ministers have relevance problem once they leave the job. I expect Howard to doggedly cling on.

I think that Costello is right about the smooth transition stuff, because it was an awful mess last time following the departure of Menzies, compounded soon after by the unusual death of Harold Holt.

And we all thought it was going to be the Abbott and Costello show.

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