This polite press release came out from the Liberal Party last Friday announcing nominees for the federal executive, to be decided at the Federal Council meeting at the end of the week:

Nominations for the position of Federal President of the Liberal Party closed at midday today.

Ms Chris McDiven of NSW was the sole nominee.

Consequently, Ms McDiven will become Federal President at the conclusion of the Liberal Party’s 51st Federal Council on Sunday, 26 June 2005.

Chris McDiven will be the Liberal Party’s first female Federal President.

M. McDiven says she is ‘deeply grateful for the support I have received from the Liberal Party across Australia as I assume my new role.

“I am particularly honoured to be the Party’s first female Federal President and am grateful for the support and encouragement I have received from women across the Liberal Party…”

Another memo stated: “Two nominations were received for the position of Vice President – Female – Mrs Wendy Spry and Mrs Helen Kroger. This position will be determined by ballot at the Party’s Federal Council next Friday, 24 June 2005.”

As soon as the nominations became known, Liberals were muttering this could be an indication for the Howard and Costello numbers on Federal Council.

And what did we see in The Age this morning?

Treasurer Peter Costello is strongly backing staunch ally Helen Kroger, president of the Victorian Liberals, to replace the present federal female vice-president, Wendy Spry, at next weekend’s federal council…

Quick work.