Wendy Wedge has plenty to speculate about with Ron Walker suddenly defending the PM and his bagman successor Malcolm Turnbull itching to become PM one day.

Ron Hudson Conway, Grand Prix etc etc steps down in April as Federal Liberal Treasurer after many years in the role and many millions of dollars raised.

Ron is waxing a bit philosophic (which I guess you can if you swap your casino shares at single digit dollar value for PBL ones and then sell them at 200% profit while the pundits are claiming that Telstra might buy Channel Nine).

Anyway Ron is now a great admirer of the PM and recently defended him against Malcolm Fraser. He always points out to would be donors that John may not have gone as far as he and the donor would like with labor market reform etc but that he has achieved a great deal.

Recently the plaudits are still there but there are also the beginnings of suggestions that the PM might go.

Ron makes it clear that it won’t be until at least one day after the PM’s 64th birthday which is when the PM outlasts his nemesis from Nareen to become the second longest serving Liberal PM in Australian history.

But he is talking about the polling on Costello (not good at all yet) and the possible future of his successor, Malcolm Turnbull, as Liberal Party Federal Treasurer.

Ron makes no bones about it Malcolm wants to be PM and wants a seat as soon as possible. Now everybody knows this but here is where it gets interesting.

Ron recognises that Costello also wants to be PM and will want someone to collect the millions to fund his campaign. He also recognises that if the PM does go someone after chalking up the record that a prime candidate for the PM’s seat will probably be said Malcolm Turnbull. So according to Ron Costello is a touch concerned that if the PM goes and the new Treasurer takes a seat then the millions won’t be collected.

Ron tells this with a straight face even though Costello clearly means something else again.

Ron’s other insight is that Howard’s newfound interest in foreign affairs is another sure sign. A man who doesn’t like travel and feels uncomfortable o/s is suddenly busting a gut to become a statesperson. Ron correctly assumes this is a person who has other things on his mind reminding us of Gorbachev who often recounted how much more stimulating his meetings on matters global were compared with meetings on matters local.

Wendy still believes her hero will need to be blasted out. Why go just because you have been caught lying, smearing or feigning ignorance? That, after all, would be the end of civilisation as Wendy knows it.

But while resisting the temptation to hand over any dollars to Ron she did get the feeling that a seismic shift might be closer than she thinks.

PS On the subjects of PhDs. Wendy never said despite the crikey Mayne man’s faulty memory that there have never been any PhDs in Howard’s office.

She has, however, wondered what speechwriters are supposed to have done for a man who writes his own or speaks off the cuff. Methinks this is what the Mayne man remembers.

Peter Fray

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