Word around Canberra
is that
the reason for Costello’s ultimatum
to Howard now is that he has been offered
a very big bucks job at Macquarie Bank. So he now has a really good fall-back
position if Howard doesn’t budge.

There is a rumour circulating in Canberra that Peter Costello and
the Dwarf (Glenn Milne) have a deal of their own. Milne has pledged to
be Costello’s booster of choice in the Press Gallery in return for
being Cossie’s Chief Media Adviser when (if) Cossie becomes PM.

Talk turned to the Liberal leadership at a
lunch
in the Melbourne boardroom of a major bank on Thursday. A vice-chancellor put the
question raised by the newspapers as to whether Costello was a Harold Holt or a
Paul Keating in his quest for the leadership, stating it was a difficult
question. A doyen of the local Liberal establishment had no difficulty
answering. He said “He is a Harold Holt – totally out of his depth”.

The Air Force has just done a review and
identified that it is nearly 2,000 positions understaffed for its current
mission. Despite the Canberra bureaucracy having grown by nearly 2,000 since the Defence
Efficiency Review took effect, they are going to cut capabilities rather than
make administrative savings. One of the three Expeditionary Combat Support
Squadrons will be scrapped, despite all three being committed overseas non-stop
for the last few years. The gap this creates will be made up by making Darwin and
Townsville bases expeditionary, even though they are supporting forces in Timor and the Solomons.

Popular Melbourne Lord Mayor John So is set to star in a home improvement show called I Said So on Channel Nine. Temptation hostess Livinia Nixon will be his side-kick.

Peter Fray

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