Has Peter Costello been set up to fail by
the Prime Minister or his camp? The general consensus this week is that the
Treasurer has been naïve. Have he and his supporters played right into the
Prime Minister’s hands?

Glenn Milne may have got a great yarn, but
rather than delivering the prime ministership to his beloved, has he been a
patsy?

Too many Crikey readers shun Piers
Akerman’s columns on philosophical grounds. That’s a mistake. They are missing entertaining
offerings from a shrewd mischief-maker. We all know the storm a column of
Akerman’s precipitated back in May. But take today’s.
Akerman talks about resentment at Ian McLachlan’s absentee landlord act in his
South Australian electorate of Barker (two safe state seats in the region went
to independents during this period). Then he goes on to say:

A number of
South Australian Liberals are now so angry about recent events that there is
every expectation that new questions may emerge about Costello’s knowledge of
Liberal Party heavyweight Rob Gerard’s controversial appointment and resignation
from the Federal Reserve Bank Board last year…

This is a week in which the Treasurer has
said on Monday:

[T]he public is
entitled to know the full truth… That was precisely what happened. They are the
full facts of what happened. I have told you entirely what happened… I have
told you the full details of what happened… That is what happened. I have a
very clear recollection of the event. You can interpret them as you like but
that is the full truth of what happened… and I can’t say any more. That is
precisely what happened. The public is entitled to know the full truth and that
is what happened…

On Tuesday:

My parents
always told me, if you have done nothing wrong you have got nothing to fear by
telling the truth, and I told the truth… [I]f you haven’t done the wrong thing,
if you have got nothing to hide, you have got nothing to fear from the truth… I
have nothing to fear from the truth… I have told you the full and utter truth…
I have told you the truth… Excuse me, I have told you the truth…

And yesterday:

I think the
public knows the complete facts, and they are entitled to know the facts, and
it was my obligation to tell the truth and I did… I don’t think that I could
have done anything other than told you the truth… The only point I will make is
this – at the end of the day, if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing
to fear by telling the truth. And that is what I have done and I have done
nothing wrong. And that is why I have nothing to fear from telling the truth…

So what’s Piers hinting at?

Peter Fray

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