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Costello v Swan: A worm on both their houses

Peter Costello and Wayne Swan were put to the worm today. On the face of it Costello wormed strongly, sending Nine’s nimble nematode into positive territory repeatedly during his opening remarks to the National Press Club debate with Labor’s treasury alternative.

Swan won the toss after a post-prandial coin fumble from NPC moderator Ken Randall. On his feet he wormed in constant positive territory, despite a dry-mouthed and nervous performance and glib assurances that he and Kevin Rudd had “a plan”.

He was far from disgraced, but rambled into the banal, was dry and conservative. Sorry, fiscally conservative.

Costello began with the worm in flatline, but it rose dramatically with the treasurer’s rising cadence. The worm it seems is both patriotic and a fan of robust rhetoric. With every mention from Costello of “Australia” it twisted north. Jobs, growth, Australia, boom, tax reform, climate change action … all drew the worm upright.

“World class training” a worm thriller for Swan.

World class broadband’’ … off the scale.

But “Work Choices”? The worm wriggles underground.

Swan stumbles into self deprecation, the worm surges.

Costello talks on future Liberal leadership, the worm plunges.

Swan takes it to Costello on trade union representation on the ALP front bench, the worm approves.

Both men talked the prospects of the economy up, both men gave a performance that dwelt on a worm warming future of solid prospects and hope. The worm only dipped when Costello threw the switch to self satisfaction, smugness or sneer.

The worm’s lesson was clear.

Read Richard Farmer’s full wrap of the Treasurers’ debate on our website later this afternoon.

7
  • 1
    Mundo
    Posted Tuesday, 30 October 2007 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Loved the way the worm headed north whenever Sneaky Pete did his impersonation of a bleeding heart socialist.
    I would have been happier had Swan made more of the argument that without the Hawke/Keating governments there’d be nothing to manage.

  • 2
    lester
    Posted Tuesday, 30 October 2007 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    This is telling

    Costello talks on future Liberal leadership, the worm plunges.

    Looks like no one likes the smirker! :D

  • 3
    Peter
    Posted Tuesday, 30 October 2007 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    The worm guiders don’t like negative politicking that’s for sure. If you didn’t watch the debate, then ignore the Crikey commentators. Worm guiders didn’t like Costello at all, conversely they waarmed to Swann every time, excepting the negative stuff.

  • 4
    Gratton Wilson
    Posted Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Costello, backed by Howard on Lateline, told us Work Choice was ok for now. He very carefully didn’t
    make a committment, if re elected,not to change the Coalition IR laws in the future. Given the record of these two and Minchin further change Is certain.

  • 5
    Lucy
    Posted Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    By my reckoning, the worm’s favouritest thing ever was an open, transparent and merit-based selection process for Reserve Bank appointments.

  • 6
    Lucy
    Posted Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    By my reckoning, the worm’s favouritest thing ever was an open, transparent and merit-based selection process for Reserve Bank appointments.

  • 7
    Lynda Hopgood
    Posted Tuesday, 30 October 2007 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    It looked to me like Costello was told to control the “smirk”. I was looking forward to a lively debate: instead it was snoresville. I think Costello won it , but after 11 years as Treasurer, you would expect that. Swan did WELL ENOUGH, importantly.

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