We don’t want to bury the lead
here, but we have to start by giving credit where credit is due. The
political skills of our Prime Minister – second to none.

He dumped Dollar Sweetie in the sh*t while simultaneously defending him on Insiders yesterday. Sheer brilliance:

BARRIE CASSIDY: The Robert Gerard matter and now his
resignation from the Reserve Bank, Peter Costello is talking nonsense,
isn’t he, when he says Mr Gerard has not avoided a dollar of tax?

HOWARD: He is not talking nonsense. Look, I think Peter Costello has
been very unfairly attacked over this issue. The procedure that was
followed for the appointment of Robert Gerard is the same procedure
that has been followed for all of the appointments that this government
has made to the Reserve Bank board. Peter Costello and I were both
wanting to find somebody with a manufacturing background and also we
wanted to find somebody from a state other than New South Wales or
Victoria because the allegations was that the Reserve Bank was too
Sydney-centric or at the very least big state-centric. Peter came to me
and said, “What about Roberts Gerard?” He is the largest employer in
the private sector of people in South Australia. He’s a highly

BARRIE CASSIDY: The Treasurer was the first to raise his name?

HOWARD: Yes, but nothing turns on that. Now, please don’t try and
impute something in that. I know Robert Gerard well. I thought it was a
very good idea. Peter and I were as one in relation to putting Gerard

The Gerard affair, of course, is being seen through a leadership prism. As it should be. But not a Howard/Costello prism.

has been a prominent player in the cesspool known as the South
Australian Liberal Party. He backed former leader and premier Dean
Brown and the then party president Vickie Chapman against the forces of
the local right, led by Nick Minchin and Alexander Downer.

Minchin, of course, has a brain. He’s been a former deputy federal
director of the Liberal Party and was state director in South
Australia. He knows you have to look after the money men.

Downer, on the other hand, has been known to get a little carried away
at times. And he entertains delusions that one day he just might return
to the Liberal leadership. Of course, to get there, he’d have to see
off… Peter Costello.

The story was out there. So who sicced the Fin onto Gerard and the Treasurer?