Peter Costello’s already out of the blocks and streaking towards the Lodge, with big pieces over the weekend in The Australian and the Fairfax Sundays.

One of the reasons why he’s moving so quickly, of course, is that he’s
scarcely weighed down by any big commitments. Yesterday’s tax proposals
are utterly unsubstantial – more mere tinkering that will do nothing
for 80 percent of taxpayers.

Another reason why he looks so swift is that Tony Abbott and the good Dr Brendan aren’t even on the field.

But, best of all for the Treasurer, is the news that Alexander Downer’s
shoelaces have come undone. He hoped to start the year getting cosy
with Condi – along with ministers from Australia, China, India, Japan
and South Korea at the first Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean
Development and Climate in Sydney – but the Foreign Minister has been
stood up.

Israel’s political crisis means the US Secretary of State won’t be
straying from the side of her man, Dubya. That means Downer will have
to head to Washington
if he wants his photo-op. And that’s a nasty detour for a man
determined to show he’s back in the race for a new job – and that
Costello isn’t the only bloke going places.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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