Peter Costello will launch a new national platform for research and dialogue on Australia’s interests in the East Asian region at the Australian National University this afternoon.

The Treasurer will launch the East Asia Forum and the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research – and deliver a major address on Australia’s East Asian economic interests at the launch.

It’s dollars and cents stuff – but foreign affairs issues are also involved. Sensitive foreign affairs issues. Is Cossie multitasking, covering the broad, big picture stuff that prime ministers are supposed to cover? Or is this a sign that the PM is taking the advice of people like John Stone and told poor Dollar Sweetie to stop his bloody whingeing and that he won’t get the top job, but can have another senior cabinet post if he’s bored with being Treasurer and too wimpy to walk?