Christian
Kerr writes:

The next
Victorian Liberal Party state council, on the weekend of 19 August, could
be interesting for Treasurer Peter Costello and the members of The Cult of
Suck.

If you are a politician, “don’t expect the high moral ground to be a
path to the political escalator”, Michelle Grattan
writes today. Liberal insiders say the Treasurer’s wide-eyed behaviour
– and the naivety of his followers – has sparked a significant
backlash amongst the party rank and file in his home division. They
warn the
heat could be on when council meets.

Costello’s pique at Malcolm Turnbull’s tax
paper last August is being remembered. John Stone’s shrewd observations about
the Treasurer and his “obvious petulance” in The National Observer last winter
are being recalled. Even more damaging, Greg Sheridan’s coruscating column from
March: “The grating pretender – This shallow, lazy, lucky and
opportunistic Treasurer does not deserve to run the country” – is whizzing
around on the email.

There’s
expected to be anger at the Treasurer from the floor of council – but it could
just be spun away with the most ironic twist.

There’s
a delightful theory doing the round that the events of the last week have
directed attention back to the Government and the Prime Minister’s strengths
and away from Labor and Kim Beazley’s message on IR.

Peter Fray

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