Sending political enemies into exile has always been an effective way of getting rid of them– and a number of Victorian Libs are looking at doing just that to Jeff Kennett, the Fin reports today:
Senior officials are even seriously suggesting he take a publicly funded overseas trip during the Victorian election campaign to avoid a repeat of this week’s damaging outburst…
The trip proposal, which is being developed among federal Liberals, would involve Kennett taking a “fact finding” mission overseas in his capacity as chairman of the national depression initiative beyondblue during the formal campaign leading up the November 25 poll. The not-for-profit charity is partly funded by the federal government.
“Senior officials.” Well, if they’ve been allowed to rise to that level in the Victorian Liberal Party, then they must be members of Camp Costello.
But Costello and Kennett’s antipathy is well known. Who else is on the Treasurer’s list of enemies?
A number of people were quite happy to out themselves when we called for nominations yesterday –- a high profile economist, a newspaper editor… And there were plenty of suggestions:
- I bet you that the Telstra management is high on the list. I have heard that they have trouble accessing his office… then again, who doesn’t.
- A colleague from the ATO once told me of a story during the drafting of the GST legislation about a group of ATO senior tax folk who finally got to meet with him on the basis that they did not want to discuss the big picture, just ways of making it work better (the BAS form). He welcomed them with his well-known smirk and said he would hear what they said and would not change his mind. A great characteristic for a PM, I’m sure.
- Anyone who doesn’t agree with him, poses a personal threat to his ambition or might just be cleverer than he is.
And that last point is particularly interesting. One of our sources says “Costello has some form when it comes to trying to get editors or MDs to silence pesky economics writers.” They point to a few figures Crikey readers would recognise who were targets of nobbling attempts.
Our source points out how Paul Keating would “ring you up directly and call you a f****** c*** to your face, rather than go to your boss and get you sacked.”
Then again, unlike Cossie, Keating was always pretty direct about what he wanted.