A nice little Q & A with the Treasurer popped up in the Age’s glossy (melbourne) magazine during the week. These lines grabbed our attention:

Q. Where do you go on a rainy day?
A. I’d light a fire at home and snuggle up with a good book, like The Latham Diaries.

Is it too much to hope that Dollar Sweetie may have been inspired by Iron Mark’s talk about being “the only dry in the party”?

gradually seeping out that early last year Latham was working on a plan
to outflank the Liberals from the right – to show them up for the big
taxing, big spending outfit that steals our money and hands it back in
bribes to key constituencies – by radically realigning personal and
company tax rates.

The bruvvers were too thick to get their
heads around it – their economics is as up to date as Frank Crean’s –
and in the end both parties embarked on a shameful spending splurge
when the campaign came. But, if Costello wants to be leader, he needs A
Big Idea.

At a presser
yesterday the Treasurer announced plans to cut tax legislation by
around 30%. (It’s only nine and three quarter years since he was
elected on a pledge to do something similar, but it’s the thought that
counts.) Costello added that he “would love to” deliver more tax cuts.

This has led to some excited headlines today. The Telegraph talks about “The tax cut you deserve” on page one:

“Every Australian can look forward to a substantial tax cut
next year after Treasurer Peter Costello yesterday committed himself to
using the multi-billion-dollar surplus to deliver genuine relief. With
the surplus set to top $10 billion, Mr Costello is in a position to
better the tax cuts offered in this year’s Budget, which gave workers
earning $60,000 a $552 tax break.”

Here’s hoping. Shadow Treasurer Malcolm Turnbull also writes in the Tele
today that at least $8 billion could be set aside to fund tax cuts, and
the top rate slashed to 40 per cent. Turnbull outlines the case for
reducing taxes and changing tax thresholds, and says the Government
could increase the tax-free threshold to $10,000 and reduce the top
marginal rate to 40 per cent for $8.5 billion.

The tax free
threshold, of course, has only increased by 50% over the last quarter
of a century – while wages have grown by 350%. And we all know what
flatter – or even flat – taxes have done for Ireland and economies of
former Soviet bloc states.

Will Cossie take this on? Is he girding his loins for battle?

Costello’s supporters have dismissed suggestions he is reconsidering
his threat to challenge the Prime Minister for the leadership if there
is not an orderly handover next year,” Sam Maiden writes in the Oz. “Instead, supporters of the Treasurer believe his resolve to take the job has hardened.”

Here’s hoping that that resolve for change – tax, policy, whatever – is there.