The Treasurer has drawn a line under the unpleasantness of last week and is moving on. He has a Big Idea. Parents who fail to adequately care for their children should lose their welfare entitlements.


Now, Crikey readers, you have good policy palates. Do you taste what
we’re tasting? Strong notes of busybody Blairism, with characteristic
tones of officiousness and sanctimony?

Yes, the New Liberal, as his biographer Shaun Carney
named him, the man who would be Prime Minister, has thought long and
deep. And after his prodigious efforts he has… invented the nanny
state. Literally.

The Treasurer’s cupbearer, Glenn Milne – or, maybe, given his height, the Treasurer’s occasional table – waxed lyrical in The Sunday Telegraph about Dollar Sweetie’s ingenuity:

When Peter Costello was sucker-punched by John Howard over
the leadership of the Liberal Party in June, 2003, he angrily vowed to
begin broadening his personal profile by speaking out on issues outside
his Treasury portfolio.

So far, we’ve seen precious little of it.

Until
today. In an article to be published tomorrow, Costello has advocated a
radical overhaul of welfare payments, so that irresponsible parents are
cut out of welfare payments if they don’t look after their children
properly.

The timing, though, could have been better for the Treasurer…

And so it goes on. We preferred the message in the same paper from a proper Canberra correspondent Matt Price and his headline that said it all: “Costello made to look like a dill.”