While the Australian Idol contestants will battle it out to see who makes the final 12 this week, spare a thought for our would-be political superstars. We have three PM wannabes – and a black sheep.

How do they measure up? At the moment the black sheep, Malcolm Turnbull, seems the most measured. That says plenty alone.

The Treasurer has not helped the Government with his “100 employees” contributions on industrial relations. When he’s silent, that hasn’t helped matters, either. We could be charitable and say it’s just jet lag – but yesterday’s Australian and his “Um, I won’t be doing any TV interviews in the airport, thank you very much” on The World Today seemed to offer fairly conclusive proof that the Treasurer’s dead set on avoiding tax talk – no matter how that might look – until his 7:30 Report appearance last night..

We discovered earlier in the year that one of the defining moments in the life of another contender, Tony Abbott, didn’t actually happen. And Doctor Brendan’s tough talk to towelheads last week has got the one time soft left Labor Party member looking like even more the political harlot than usual. Even theDaily Telegraph has questioned its usefulness.

Have a look through Australian political history. Successful leaders – long term leaders – need to present a calm, controlled image, even when that requires much self discipline. Hawke did it. Are our three wannabes up to it? Going by their behaviour as they audition for the top job, it doesn’t look likely.

Indeed, we may have the wrong TV program simile. Costello, Abbott and Nelson aren’t like the would-be stars of Australian Idol. They’re more like the self indulgent prats of Big Brother. And on Big Brother, of course, you get voted out.