“Peter
Costello has that look of the cat that’s seen the cream move closer to the
saucer,” Michelle Grattan writes today. Indeed.
As anyone who saw the Liberals’ deputy leader on Lateline last night can attest.

But
something very, very big is being overlooked in all the current leadership
speculation. If we’re wondering out aloud that John Howard is going, why aren’t
people asking more questions about what life will be like in the Court of King
Costello? Surely they should be put before the coronation?

The
questions are nothing if not topical. Today, the High Court will hear a
challenge from The Australian and its freedom of information editor, Michael
McKinnon, to a Federal Court judgement supporting a decision by the Treasurer
to withhold government documents.
Legal and public administration experts say the case will have an enormous
impact on the media’s ability to keep governments accountable.

Will King
Costello be a tyrant? Will he seek revenge for the slights of his years of
frustrated ambition?

These are
questions we need answered. We need to know who his favourites will be. How
will he manage his friendship with Michael Kroger? Who else will number amongst
his key counsellors and courtiers? What rewards will be granted to loyal foot
soldiers such as Chris Pyne, George Brandis and Michael Ronaldson? What of
the princelings from his office, Tony Smith and Mitch Fifield?

How will
King Costello rule? With smugness and arrogance – or with that sense of social
justice and attachment to the simple life we sometimes glimpse in profiles?

Help us
chart the politics and intrigue of the Court of King Costello. Your
observations, please, to [email protected].