The plan by Lindsay Fox and his mates to buy a house in Melbourne for Peter and Tanya Costello (see this story in today’s Australian) is premature – they should wait until after the Costellos leave The Lodge, if they get there in the first place.

The precedent is when Bob and Dame Pattie Menzies ended their record occupation of the prime minister’s official residence, and the Melbourne establishment took the hat around and bought them a pile in Malvern’s Haverbrack Avenue.

John Howard set a dangerous and expensive precedent when he decided to live in Kirribilli House – it has cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and a compliant Press Gallery and indifferent Opposition has allowed him to get away with it.

Victoria’s other latter-day PMs – Menzies, Holt, Gorton and Hawke – made do with The Lodge, and Peter Costello, who is devoid of any allusions of grandeur, will more than likely do the same. All this current Melbourne versus Sydney nonsense – and that’s all it is – reeks of parochialism and has no place in modern-day Australia.