Peter
Costello’s foray into Queensland has a familiar ring about it and anyone who was
living in New York in 2000 will immediately recall Hillary Clinton’s “listening
tour.” The former First Lady wouldn’t initially admit she was going to try for
the Senate seat held by the veteran and well respected New Yorker Daniel Patrick
Moynihan – who along with his wife had a well known distaste for Hillary, not
unlike that held by the Man of Steel and Janette for Peter Costello.

Like
Hillary, Costello on Lateline
last night deftly tip-toed through all
the land mines laid by Tony Jones when
he tried to elicit the treasurer’s
leadership timetable. Peter was not
falling for that one – any more than Hillary did five years ago. Your
correspondent was working in New York at the time and, like most New Yorkers, held
the Clintons in high regard and took more than just a passing interest in what
Hillary was doing. When she finally admitted she was running, she announced it
at the Moynihan’s farm and in the presence of the senatorial couple whose tight
smiles didn’t fool anyone.

It’s hardly likely Peter will announce his run in the
presence of John and Janette at Kirribilli House. Costello jumped into the
foreign affairs portfolio last night, dropping a bucket all over Robert Mugabe
and announcing Australia will go to the Security Council on the Zimbabwe
situation, an announcement which might temporarily stop Alexander Downer
giggling.

On matters diplomatic – watch for the announcement of John Dauth’s
post after the prestigious UN job; the money is on Wellington, with Ottawa or The
Hague running a close second.

Peter Fray

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