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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:31 am

It’s a two-fisted leadership throwdown in the nation’s capital! A quick update on events:

March 2005: The Bulletin’s Paul Daley speaks with a Liberal Party insider who reveals a Howard-Costello succession plan hatched in 1994:

This strategy was reassuring, though not critical, for Costello. “Essentially, three principles underpinned the transition to Howard back then,” says one insider. “First, Downer was to be allowed to go with dignity and he’d be looked after, which he was, and there would be no retribution against the moderates. Second, John, the more experienced of the potential leaders, would take over, hopefully win the next election and would serve two terms – he’d go probably mid-third term. Third, there’d be plenty of time for Peter. It seemed like a good plan – you know, everyone wins.”

Sunday: News Ltd journalist Glenn Milne claims confirmation of the plan:

For 12 years it’s been hinted at, whispered about and denied. Now we have confirmation: John Howard and Peter Costello did discuss the future of the Liberal leadership at a meeting in 1994.

Monday morning: A denial from Howard:

John Howard told reporters in Sydney in the morning he had not agreed to any “deal” over the leadership with Peter Costello in a conversation in December 1994.

Monday afternoon: Costello calls an extraordinary press conference, during which he repeats the phrase “what happened” about 17 times:

Mr Costello told a Melbourne press conference that Mr Howard had told him, on December 5, 1994, “he intended to do one and a half terms as prime minister and then would hand over”.

“I did not seek that undertaking, he volunteered it and I took him at his word. Obviously, that did not happen,” Mr Costello said.

Late Monday: Former defence minister Ian McLachlan, a witness to the 1994 Howard-Costello conversation, makes public his notes of the event:

The text of his note of the conversation reads: “Meeting Monday Dec 1994. Undertaking given by JH at a meeting late pm in PC’s room that if AD resigned and Howard became PM then one and a half terms would be enough and he would hand over to PC. IMcL.”

So that’s where we’re at, more or less. Media reaction, first from the Age’s Michelle Grattan:

Peter Costello doesn’t have the numbers to blast John Howard out. But he does have the dirt to make him look bad, and he’s throwing it.

An unnamed cabinet minister quoted in the Australian:

Those who know John Howard well would say he’d never say anything like that. He’s too careful. In this game you don’t expect someone of John Howard’s experience to give that sort of guarantee.

The Age’s Michael Gordon:

Yesterday, Costello told the public what he had kept private for more than 11 years — and dramatically ratcheted up the stakes in the simmering Liberal leadership tensions.

An editorial in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph:

In the space of four hours and after two press conferences, any pretence of partnership between John Howard and Peter Costello was blown apart yesterday.

Just before 11am the Prime Minister stood in the Sydney sunshine to deny ever offering the Treasurer a deal on the prime ministership.

After lunch, Mr Costello braved freezing Melbourne winds to publicly challenge Mr Howard’s version of events.

Dennis Shanahan and John Lehmann in the Australian:

Within minutes of Peter Costello setting his own moral probity and credibility against the Prime Minister’s yesterday, the telephone calls began in Canberra questioning his integrity.

And Michael Harvey and Gerard McManus in the Age:

John Howard and Peter Costello will face off today after effectively accusing each other of lying.

Beats me how this will turn out. Over to the (mainly left) blogsters:

Ambit Gambit: “When will Peter Costello resign? This afternoon’s press stories make this necessary …”

BeerWulf: “If John Howard is 100% about his ‘staying for as long as his party wants him as their leader’, then I’m afraid that Johnny will be Prime Minister for as long as the Liberals are in government. Because NOBODY ON THIS EARTH wants Costello in power.”

Harry Heidelberg: “Yawn.”

John Quiggin: “As the government’s supporters will no doubt hasten to point out, the whole idea of a ‘one size fits all’ truth, the same for everyone, smacks of socialism. In a modern market system of politics, everyone can pick their own truth, as desired, and have more than one available for different occasions.”

Urban Creature: “So he promised Costello the leadership? Big deal. When was the last time Howard kept a promise?”

Mark Bahnisch: “Costello has a tin political ear, I’ve always thought, and if he thinks this will blast Howard out of office, I reckon he’s nuts.”

Tim Dunlop: “Given that Mr Costello has basically called him a liar, it is hard to see how Mr Howard can avoid sacking his Treasurer.”

Fraises: “It’s 2006, not 1994. We’ve moved on. If nothing else you know what electoral promises feel like. Politicians seem to forget we are supposed to be a democracy and we are supposed to have a say.”

Posted by Tim B. on 07/10/2006 at 01:26 PM
    1. Is either one of these cats Blood of a Champion? No, wait, that’s in California.

      Two men enter, one man leaves.

      Posted by paulris on 2006 07 10 at 01:54 PM • permalink


    1. “Howard and Costello”

      Sounds like a comedy duo…

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2006 07 10 at 01:57 PM • permalink


    1. As an American with extremely limited knowledge of the Australian political scene – particularly anything having to do with party in-fighting – I confess that I was most taken with the phrase, “After lunch, Mr Costello braved freezing Melbourne winds . . .” Good job on the global warming, guys!

      Posted by paco on 2006 07 10 at 02:07 PM • permalink


    1. Costello is making the same mistake Fraser did in ‘75. Whitlam (contrary to his current epic self-importance) and his party were making a terrible hash of government way back when, and would have almost certainly been thrown out at the looming election. Howard is still delivering the goods for the Libs, but he won’t go on for much more than a year or two. It is most probable that if the treasurer simply bides his time, the office of PM will be delivered to him. Fraser’s impatience won him government, but cost him legitimacy during the time he stayed in office. Costello’s impatience could see the government thrown out of office. If that happens, guess who will cop the blame in the court of public opinion and the party room? Costello’s strategy is extremely risky. Especially considering he’s lining up against the country’s master political tactician.

      Posted by James Waterton on 2006 07 10 at 02:08 PM • permalink


    1. Costello’s beef seems to be that a politician lied to him. Fancy that.

      Posted by Villeurbanne on 2006 07 10 at 02:09 PM • permalink


    1. #2. “Howard and Costello”

      “Who’s on the popping crease?” No, just doesn’t have the right ring to it.

      Posted by paco on 2006 07 10 at 02:12 PM • permalink


    1. This is very, very bad news for Australia’s conservatives.  The Australian public hate in-fighting in their political parties and punish it with a vengeance.

      The only way for the Labor party to get back would be if the Liberals (Conservatives) implode.  I don’t think they will, and that this will blow over, but after 10 years in government, 12 by the election, the Libs don’t need baggage like this.  The electorate WILL remember.

      And BTW those who get a kick out of political ‘team’ names – the Treasurer Mr Costello and the Health Minister Mr Abbott sued a book publisher a few years ago.  Yes, it was Abbott and Costello and when Costello becomes PM we’ll see a lot more of it!

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 07 10 at 02:22 PM • permalink


    1. It seems to me that the only group of people who are sick of Howard’s PMship is the media.

      They are the ones who have been trying to drive a wedge between Howard and Costello for years.

      Despite any alledged deals or inferred undertakings, at least Costello has not been the whining me-monkey that Keating was when Hawke was PM.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2006 07 10 at 04:57 PM • permalink


    1. #2

      Which is the entire reason Tony Abbott should become PM.

      Posted by sam on 2006 07 10 at 04:58 PM • permalink


    1. What fantasy land does Quiggin live in?  Postmodernist “any truth you like” bullshit is more a trait of the left than the right.  That’s why postmodernism’s biggest enemies have been from lefties who really care (Sokol hoax? Richard Evans’ “In defence of History”?) What a prat.

      Posted by procrustes on 2006 07 10 at 05:22 PM • permalink


    1. So, one-and-a-half terms would have been over when, 2000 or so? And Costello thinks he’ll make political hay out of it by bringing it up six years later? I’ll have to agree with Mark Bahnisch, “I reckon he’s nuts.”

      Posted by PW on 2006 07 10 at 05:29 PM • permalink


    1. Costello shoulfd cool his heels on the back-bench for a year or three, or better still resign from Parliament.

      Any way, that musty old bit of note paper that’s been hiding in McLaughlin’s wallet for 12 years would be almost indecipherable by now! Something stinks!

      Posted by Gravelly on 2006 07 10 at 05:46 PM • permalink


    1. this is the same old beat up brought up by the lefty media and the labour party every year.  i guess they figure it’s gotta work sometime; it appears Costello wants to play.  At the last couple of election’s whether Howard would stay for the full term was pretty much Labour’s only platform for election.

      The Australian public don’t like Costello, tolerate him as Treasurer, but wouldn’t elect him as Prime Minister.

      Is there some deja vu here?

      Posted by spyder on 2006 07 10 at 06:05 PM • permalink


    1. Most astonishing to me is that paco even knows what a “popping crease” is!

      Seriously, this is bad. Whatever Costello’s credentials as a Treasurer, this raising of a Hill’s Hoist of dirty laundry is bad for the party and bodes ill for the conservative cause.

      (paco, what’s a Hill’s Hoist?)

      Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 07 10 at 06:06 PM • permalink


    1. Benny Hill?

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2006 07 10 at 06:12 PM • permalink


    1. Yawn, the leftist media are examining the heavens for any signs of Howards’ descent. They live in such feverish hope, that he will one day retire that even the news that he is spending $10,000 (that will go far) on re-doing the front of his house is sending some journo’s into an onanistic frenzy.

      And the big white hope? Beazley! Mwuhahahahaha

      Posted by Nic on 2006 07 10 at 07:47 PM • permalink


    1. John Quiggin: “As the government’s supporters will no doubt hasten to point out, the whole idea of a ‘one size fits all’ truth, the same for everyone, smacks of socialism. In a modern market system of politics, everyone can pick their own truth, as desired, and have more than one available for different occasions.”

      Talk about projection.  I think the leftists call this nuance.

      Posted by SB on 2006 07 10 at 07:51 PM • permalink


    1. I’m already tired of these stories. Maybe if they came out while the Parliament was sitting and we could have watched Beazer try and get in some zingers in Question Time it’d be entertaining, but this is just a bore.

      This seems almost entirely a media creation. I think I read in Crikey that Glenn Milne called someone for confirmation and they said no, but called him back later and said it was true. Seems to me if it was this important, he probably might have remembered on his first go.

      By the way, was highly amused by Kruddy calling ABC offices Taj Mahals (except for the one in his electorate, which is a “Bombay slum”).

      Posted by Ian Deans on 2006 07 10 at 07:56 PM • permalink


    1. Some dumbarse caller into ABC radio this morning (Jon Faine) summarised lefty ignorance of history and mathematics. She said John Howard is not a popularly elected leader, as only 38% voted for him (if I recall correctly, Coalition primary vote was somewhere in the 40’s), so 75% of poeple didn’t vote for him.

      Posted by Oafish and Infantile on 2006 07 10 at 08:11 PM • permalink


    1. Grattan:  Govt hurled into CRISIS!
      Milne:  Govt DYSfunctional!

      Boy, the professional kingmakers are loving this stoush.  It’s Got’em! Time again.

      PM Costello losing the unlosable Republican Referendum?
      PM Costello handling the border control problem well?
      Is he kidding?

      Does this guy have any political nous, revisiting that period now?
      Is this what he calls putting on pressure?
      Has he got Keating as an adviser?

      It’s Mr Smug and Our Johnny going at it.
      We already know who’s the Champ, why doesn’t Mr Smug?

      Posted by Barrie on 2006 07 10 at 08:14 PM • permalink


    1. Want to tell Mr Ian M McLachlan
      What a jerk he is?
      Here is his number at Australian Wool Innovation…Australian Wool Innovation

      1800 070 099

      my two cents…the time has passed when a commotion should have been made.

      Posted by galoot on 2006 07 10 at 08:22 PM • permalink


    1. Storm in a teacup. At least, it should be.

      Posted by you bet on 2006 07 10 at 08:37 PM • permalink


    1. Oh boy, this is like when little kids whine “but you promised!” when they don’t get the little red train they thought they were getting just because they latched onto some positive-sounding, but non-committal “We’ll see” from their parents.

      I don’t see a contract anywhere with John Howard’s signature on it, so <yawn>.  Costello’s a fool for giving the issue fuel, so much so that I doubt his fitness for the job he feels such entitlement to.

      Posted by Mr Hackenbacker on 2006 07 10 at 08:42 PM • permalink


    1. Costello has handled this like a total dill.  Hope Howard sticks around now to pass the Menzies record.

      Posted by Ben P on 2006 07 10 at 08:58 PM • permalink


    1. I thought it was pointed and ridiculous of the 7.30 Report and Lateline to repeatedly report as fact that Costello had accused Howard of lying. Certainly Costello insinuated that there was a deal, but his account of the meeting was strictly consistent with Howard’s saying there was no deal.

      I’m not sure what people who puff this story think should happen: that the ordinary procedures of the Liberal Party and the nation for choosing a leader should be suspended because of a gentlemen’s agreement twelve years ago between a couple of shadow ministers, over something that wasn’t theirs (nemo dat quod non habet)?

      Posted by Andrew R on 2006 07 10 at 09:05 PM • permalink


    1. I can’t believe how dumb Costello is……this is exactly the only thing that may cause a Labour victory at the next election…..and he’s giving it to them.

      He’d better be careful or we will get a Beazley government – what a scary thought!

      If you want a model of what a Beazley federal government would look like, all you need to do is come down to the People’s Republic of Brackistan

      Posted by MB on 2006 07 10 at 09:14 PM • permalink


    1. Howard is a career politican. He has worked all his political career for this one position, Prime Minister of Australia. he won’t give it up lightly. He knows nothing else. He will be carried out in a box, before he relinquishes control.

      The only people who are backing Costello is the federal ALP, as they can’t seem to defeat Howard, and think that Costello is a better prospect.

      Posted by WeekByWeek on 2006 07 10 at 09:14 PM • permalink


    1. #18

      The only reason it is a story is because Parliament is in its winter break.

      The media have been bloody bored for two weeks so they have to beat up something.

      Costello hasn’t handled it well though.

      And who keeps a wallet for 12 years, let alone a piece of paper. It must have been laminated to last that long.

      Oh and I have the confession of Jebediah Springfield in my jacket pocket. Waiting for another slow news day before I release this damaging piece of information to Glenn Milne.

      Posted by The (WHMECDM) President on 2006 07 10 at 09:15 PM • permalink


    1. At least Ozland is not Poland, where it’s all kept in the family while they fight cronyism.  Duh.
      “Fighting cronyism, fixing Poland
      The brothers are former activists in the Solidarity movement that helped topple communist rule in 1989-90. Both ran on a pledge to fight the cronyism that has since flourished, a message Jaroslaw stressed during brief remarks at the presidential palace.”

      Posted by Barrie on 2006 07 10 at 09:20 PM • permalink


    1. I believe Costello will make a great PM, but I fear this fiasco will see him on the losing end.

      Posted by daphne on 2006 07 10 at 09:33 PM • permalink


    1. What are you talking about with this “leftist media”?

      Tim’s sourses range from his own magazine (which broke the story) through the fairfax and news limited stables, providing a very broad cross section of opinion.

      Looks to me to be an excellent summary of events.

      My opinion on the crisis is that Howard is by far the more prefered PM, and Costello’s leadership asperations are just pie-in-the-sky stuff.

      Posted by gustov_deleft on 2006 07 10 at 09:44 PM • permalink


    1. For once in his life Glen Milne gets to be an expert commentator. He’s been pushing (or is that putsching?) for Costello for years. Enjoy your half-day in the sun, Glen.

      Posted by Henry boy on 2006 07 10 at 09:52 PM • permalink


    1. On second thought, I would like to applaud both Howard and Costello. Consider this – an election in the making, an Opposition which has latched onto an issue and is preparing to launch it’s campaign. When would be best for them to put out some policies? Why, in the Midwinter Break when the journos have nothing else to write about. And how better to starve the Opposition of any coverage than by inflating pointless leadership speculation that will be ignored by the public and forgotten within weeks?

      I’m not sure if it was accidental or deliberate (knowing Howard though…) but it’s a very clever ploy.

      Posted by Ian Deans on 2006 07 10 at 10:05 PM • permalink


    1. Costello buggered up.  He must have thought he would have got the sympathy vote for being hard done by but since Howard is so politicly strong the Liberals are not going to run to him for a group hug.

      He also forgets that there are many others that can easily take his place that are not going to rock the boat before Howard is ready to hand over the captaincy.

      Abbott could be the big winner out of this.  While Costello is let to self destruct Abbott (and others) will just move up the ladder and fill the gap.

      Posted by youngy on 2006 07 10 at 10:06 PM • permalink


    1. And there’s no way that the Libs look like they have a less stable leadership than the ALP, what with Gillard, Kruddy, Shorten and Combet waiting in the wings.

      Posted by Ian Deans on 2006 07 10 at 10:06 PM • permalink


    1. #34 – I think that while Abbott has the potential to go all the way, he needs another ten years or so to mature in senior positions in the party. He also needs to refine his public image somewhat if he wants to take the top job someday. For now, however, he is doing a most excellent job.

      Posted by Ian Deans on 2006 07 10 at 10:09 PM • permalink


    1. There’s been the slight matter of Sept 11th, Bali, iraq etc in the mean-time- who changes leadership during a time of conflict except when the incumbent karks, or is out of his gourd?

      I’ve never liked Costello much anyway (Victorian to start with, smug, smarmy git and his pathetic attempts of late to come over all neocon don’t wash when it’s quite plain he’s wetter than a fish’s foreskin), and beside the chattering classes who gives a fuck? Howard’s not going anywhere until he’s at least trumped Ming, and I doubt he’ll go even then while the ALP continues to be unable to beat time on a bass drum.

      Posted by Habib on 2006 07 10 at 10:17 PM • permalink


    1. Australians don’t want Costello. They want – as the media seems to have quite overlooked – the best Prime Minister, and that’s Howard by a country mile.

      Beazley can’t beat Howard. Beazley can beat Costello.

      Posted by Susan Norton on 2006 07 10 at 10:21 PM • permalink


    1. If Costello wanted to make a really grand gesture, he could cross the aisle (do they call it that downunder, or is it something folksy like “jumping the sofa” or “switching barstools”?).

      Then he’d see how strong his support really is.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 07 10 at 10:21 PM • permalink


    1. Pete (dagger in the back) Costello joins Wayne (boot in the groin) Rooney and Zinadine (skull to the sternum) Zidane for a trifecta of petulant prats. Both England and France lost on penalties, after extra time, with the players in question sent off, if that’s any guide.

      Posted by dipole on 2006 07 10 at 10:31 PM • permalink


    1. #19 – Some dumbarse caller into ABC radio this morning (Jon Faine) summarised lefty ignorance of history and mathematics. She said John Howard is not a popularly elected leader,…

      The caller is clearly a Republican, got confused and thought we already had a Presidential system in Australia.  I hope Faine pointed out (fat chance) that John Howard is indeed not a popularly elected leader.  In fact not one single elector voted to make him prime minister. The good voters of Bennelong made him their local member – and that’s as far as it goes.

      Posted by walterplinge on 2006 07 10 at 10:34 PM • permalink


    1. Oh gutsy, gutsy, gutsy.  Where are your principles?  A couple of light backhanders from Andrea and you come over all warm, cuddly and snevelling.

      Looks to me to be an excellent summary of events.

      My opinion on the crisis is that Howard is by far the more prefered PM, and Costello’s leadership asperations are just pie-in-the-sky stuff.

      Wot, more preferred than the other contenders: Beazley, Natasha & Bob Brown?  Sorry, the concept of gutsy as a Howard hugger has a faint ring of….  tactical sucking…. about it.

      So, to recap from the thread a couple back, you are a dickhead, a wanker AND now an arse crawler.  Ugh.

      Oh, and what crisis are you talking about.  Last time I looked we still had the same PM that we elected and there’s no challenge.  “Crisis” – you wish!

      Now I see that Costello’s brother the whining Rev Tim has gone into bat for Peter..  Talk about an own goal!  ROFL!

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 07 10 at 10:36 PM • permalink


    1. Didn’t Mr Howard in the memo in the 90’s, say he felt he was unable to give him the leadership? Therefore he was not telling lies.

      Adhd: Since when did teachers diagnose children and then tell them to say they have adhd to the doctors. Could it be the Teachers creating in part ADHD due to their own reality within the education system?

      just a thought. HI tim tam !

      Posted by 1.618 on 2006 07 10 at 10:43 PM • permalink


    1. It’s time for Costello to go. He’s been an excellent treasurer but virtually no-one wants him as PM, not even Liberal party supporters. He should challenge (and will certainly fail) and call it quits.

      Posted by David McBryde on 2006 07 10 at 10:46 PM • permalink


    1. MentalFloss

      Hill’s Hoist

      Rotary clothes line, just looked it up…lol.

      Posted by El Cid on 2006 07 10 at 10:57 PM • permalink


    1. Please explain how some git who has overseen an expansion of the tax act and the tax base, while showing not the slightest inclination to wind in let alone slash public expenditure, especially on discretionary spending is an “excellent treasurer”?

      Any gibbon can extort cash from people under duress and spend it like Michael Moore in a Lard Lad outlet- it takes skill and cunning to convince people that they’re better off spending their own money rather than having bolshie bureaucrats do it by proxy- the nearest there’s been to such a chap was Peter Walsh in finance under Hawke.

      This is the best Labor govt we’ve had in fifty years.

      BTW- the ALP/ABC/luvvie nexus are desperate for a Costello spill and hopefully assumption of leadership, as this is the only remote chance they have of forming government between now and the arrival of our lizard overlords from Gargon X, sometime after the fall of the fourth caliphate.

      Posted by Habib on 2006 07 10 at 10:57 PM • permalink


    1. Habib –

      do you assume that Victorian Liberals are mostly wets?  Is Victoria to the left of New South Wales? (at least we have Andrew Bolt – even if you have a whole newspaper in the Tele)

      I must admit we were disgraceful over the Republic – as the only state in which Nat and Lib leaders supported a Yes vote…

      Posted by Ben P on 2006 07 10 at 11:23 PM • permalink


    1. John Howard lied.  I never thought I would say this – but I I finally understand what John Valder and others have been saying about Howard all these years.

      Clearly, the future of the Liberal leasership turns on the party room and politics in 2006.

      Clearly, Costello decided not to stand for the leadership in 1995 because he had an undertaking from Howard that Howard would only stay into a second term (obviously if he won) – that is until he was 65.

      The fact that Howard can now lie and disemble about this shows me that my hero has feet of clay – and is likely to end his political career with electoral defeat or the next major scandal.

      Posted by drbob on 2006 07 10 at 11:40 PM • permalink


    1. Habib at least Costello gives back to the electorate $ goodies after he steals it from us. He isn’t like Labor who steal it then redistribute our taxes through a mates network of our moral superiors. Let the poor new mum’s buy a plasma T.V. with the baby bonus better that than having an army of welfare advisors, academics and artists acting out some 1984 version of reality.

      Posted by gubba on 2006 07 10 at 11:43 PM • permalink


    1. * Harry Heidelberg: “Yawn.”

      Yep, one big yawn. That’s my response too.

      Posted by Jono on 2006 07 10 at 11:50 PM • permalink


    1. #42 Tim’s blatant right-wing bias is absent from this post, and it was worthy of mention.

      As far as Howard being the prefered PM, in the context of the post (Howard vs Costello), it was obvious that I meant in comparison to Costello.

      As far as being a Howard Hugger is concerned, let me state for the record that in my opinion he is the most divisive, dishonest, ideologically driven twit this country has ever experienced.

      Posted by gustov_deleft on 2006 07 10 at 11:53 PM • permalink


    1. I’m thinking that there may be plenty of upside for the Liberal Party out of this mess.

      Obviously Costello has to go which instantly removes this perenially boring issue from the agenda and cements Howard in place until at least the next election.

      It then gives the next wave of hopefuls, Downer, Abbott and Nelson a chance to strut their stuff and compete evenly for the post.

      Finally it should bring some focus back to the Liberal Party who of late have looked pretty loose.

      The first thing required is for the Liberal Party Caucus to give Costello a huge kick in the nuts for being an ungrateful spoiled brat idiot and send him packing. They might have a foot in the arse for Ian McLachlan while they’re at it. WTF was he thinking about except his own self-importance?

      Posted by Mick Gill on 2006 07 11 at 12:00 AM • permalink


    1. “Excellent treasurer” was, I suppose, in contrast to Australia’s worst treasurer/prime minister Paul Keating. Costello is better than just a drover’s dog.

      Posted by David McBryde on 2006 07 11 at 12:01 AM • permalink


    1. Attaboy gutsy.  Glad you cleared things up re your being a Howard hugger.  For a while I thought we were undergoing that long-awaited magnetic reversal.

      I am reminded of the column in”The Australian” that Phat Adams once penned after Howard’s policy saw the Indonesians out of East Timor.  It was along the lines of a considered “well done John Howard” but some subby ruined it by put something like “Adams supports Howard” over the piece.  Phat Adams couldn’t return to print fast enough to re-affirm that his membership of Howard Haters was paid and up-to-date.

      But seriously, your gong for..the most divisive, dishonest, ideologically driven twit this country has ever experienced. … applies to Gough Whitlam, surely?

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 07 11 at 12:15 AM • permalink


    1. How ridiculous is this:

      Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone also would no’t comment, but asked one reporter to help her carry her bag up the stairs. Which he did.

      Comes from Ministers mum on leadership. How is that news? Fine, she made no comment. Who gives a crap about someone carrying her bag?

      Posted by AnthonyC on 2006 07 11 at 12:15 AM • permalink


    1. And does anyone else here really think that Tim Blair’s blog has blatant right wing bias?

      I’m shocked that gutsy should even think that.  A paragon of even-handedness is our Tim (OK, we all need some strategic sucking-up from time to time).

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 07 11 at 12:17 AM • permalink


    1. Whatever Howard said to Costello in 1994, it can mean nothing more than an honest expression of Howard’s thinking at the time on how the leadership will pan out in the event he was to lead the party to an election victory. I should imagine politicians talk among themselves about such things all the time.

      To suggest that this is a “deal” that should now be honoured is worse than absurd. It would show an arrogant contempt for the Australian public that would be unlikely forgiven.

      Costello has misfired and my bet is he’s smart enough to realize it. My best guess is he will back down and there will be images on the TV News tonight of them shaking hands and patting each other on the back while wearing those tight smiles that neither of them are able to entirely pull off even after all these years.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 07 11 at 12:20 AM • permalink


    1. Tim dares to mock the idiots on the left, therefore that makes him “right wing biased” even though he is actually what we in the states would call a fairly liberal person. (I’m actually the rightwing fascist here but don’t tell gusty! I don’t want to scare him.)

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2006 07 11 at 12:27 AM • permalink


    1. Both the left- and the right-leaning media are doing this story to death—The Oz covered it from every conceivable angle this morning.  Knowing the protagonists as they do, journalists and editors all tend to overestimate the public interest in political soap opera.

      Posted by slammer on 2006 07 11 at 01:07 AM • permalink


    1. #47- all the indicators are that the Vic branch is more saturated than the fat that oozes out of Michael Moore’s overstressed pores; after all, who just re-preselected Petro Georgio to Australias safest conservative seat when the two-faced, supercillious and sactimonious twerp should be Bob Browns batty boy.
      Kennett showed some promise as a bit of a hatchet artist, but has sulked off, showing the usual Victorian Liberal stoic nature (think Andrew Peacock and assorted other blubby gobshites when things don’t go their way).
      The best thing to come out of Victoria is the Hume Highway- pity so many of the chromosomally-challenged denizens of Brackistan use it to head north to sponge off the largesse of we northerners- despite having a state labor government every bit as venal, corrupt, malfeasant, ideologically atavistic, inept and idiotic as Bracks’ bolshevik bevy of boohoos, we still turn a profit.

      Posted by Habib on 2006 07 11 at 01:58 AM • permalink


    1. Tim dares to mock the idiots on the left, therefore that makes him “right wing biased” even though he is actually what we in the states would call a fairly liberal person.

      That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in at least 4 days.

      Posted by gustov_deleft on 2006 07 11 at 04:07 AM • permalink


    1. #41 “The good voters of Bennelong made him their local member – and that’s as far as it goes.”

      And that’s good enough in our robust democracy. Excellent.

      Posted by you bet on 2006 07 11 at 04:56 AM • permalink


    1. That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in at least 4 days.

      You read?

      Posted by AlburyShifton on 2006 07 11 at 07:18 AM • permalink


    1. the most divisive, dishonest, ideologically driven twit

      Takes one to know one, gus.

      Posted by PW on 2006 07 11 at 07:46 AM • permalink


    1. #14 MentalFloss: In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I know nothing about cricket at all. I looked up the rules on line, and started reading. When I came upon this – The non-striker simply stands behind the other popping crease, waiting to run if necessary. The bowler takes a run-up from behind the non-striker’s wicket. He passes to one side of the wicket, and when he reaches the non-striker’s popping crease he bowls the ball towards the striker, usually bouncing the ball once on the pitch before it reaches the striker. (The bowling action will be described in detail later.) – I felt like turning my face to the wall. But another moment or two and I found the rough equivalent for the “base” in baseball, which is what I was looking for.

      Posted by paco on 2006 07 11 at 07:46 AM • permalink


    1. Paco, here’s an old but very good explanation of cricket:

      The Rules of Cricket – as explained to a foreigner

      You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.

      Each man that’s in the side that’s in, goes out, and when he’s out, he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out.

      When they are all out the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out.

      Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

      When both sides have been in and out including the not-outs, that’s the end of the game.


      Posted by Ubique on 2006 07 11 at 08:21 AM • permalink


    1. #30 The opposite
      I believe Costello will make a great fiasco
      but I (DON’T) fear this P.M. will see him on the losing end.

      Posted by crash on 2006 07 11 at 09:25 AM • permalink


    1. #66: Thanks, Ubique. Now I SEE ALL.

      Posted by paco on 2006 07 11 at 09:43 AM • permalink


    1. #60 i spose you’re disappointed, habib, that we damp vic libs voted on friday night not to accept john pasquarelli, pauline hanson’s ex-svengali, as a member?

      Posted by KK on 2006 07 11 at 11:22 AM • permalink


    1. Paco – it’s funny ‘cos it’s true.

      Gustov – whilst you’re doing all that reading, why not take a peek at the actual definition of “liberal”. Hint: it’s not the politics of the progressive left (US) or the conservatives (Australia).

      Posted by James Waterton on 2006 07 11 at 11:30 AM • permalink


    1. Such initiative, paco. That’s why you get the big money!

      Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 07 11 at 05:08 PM • permalink


    1. What absolutely terrified me was Costello’s reference to his Mummy and Daddy. I thought for an instant that they must’ve been interviewing Tim the idiot brother.

      Posted by Paul on 2006 07 11 at 07:35 PM • permalink


    1. #69- doesn’t bother me one way or another; it’s not like potential members are beating the doors down at Liberal Party headquarters nationwide, especially looking for a state preselection- only a lowlife toad like Pasquarelli would have the faintest interest in signing up with the losers that make up state oppositions, a rum bunch with less talent than a lineup of Australian Idol auditioners.

      Posted by Habib on 2006 07 11 at 08:31 PM • permalink


    1. I keep forgetting how ignorant people like gustoff are.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2006 07 11 at 11:07 PM • permalink


    1. Bugger, Habib. It had actually crossed my mind to join the Libs. I guess I’d be better off postponing that decision.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 07 12 at 08:08 AM • permalink


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