The big guns of the Gallery were obviously tracking other targets when Peter Costello appeared on Jon Faine’s program on ABC Radio in Melbourne yesterday.
That’s luck, as the would-be leader of the Liberal Party dropped two almighty clangers that won’t endear him to his colleagues.
In just one sentence he dismissed the NSW Liberal Party’s election chances and gave federal Labor advance notice of a key Government line for the federal poll: “If you read the polls Labor is doing well and if the polls were right you would have eight Labor State and Territory governments and the risk of a Federal Labor Government”.
Whoops! It’s true that Peter Debnam is about as much use as t-ts on a bull, but Cossie’s comments won’t do anything for NSW/Victorian relations in the party – and aren’t that wise, given that all the other likely federal Liberal leadership contenders come from Sydney.
But the other remarks! Well … It’s a fair assumption Morris Iemma will romp it home on Saturday week, so it’s a fair assumption that come the federal election there’ll be Labor governments in all the states and territories.
Costello’s right. The idea of putting Labor in power in Canberra as well will make some people stop and think. But the Treasurer should have stopped and thought, too.
Australians, lor’ bless ‘em, still like activist models of government. Kevin Rudd can promise to work with his state and territory Labor colleagues To Get Things Done.
It’s exquisite that it’s the Treasurer who’s put this topic on the table, because Rudd can argue that there would be considerable economic benefits in having a full house of Labor governments. Everyone agrees that infrastructure and training, to take just two examples, need work. Rudd can say that he’s the only federal leader who can deliver. He can make it a positive part of his pitch.
Poor old Cossie. “All tip, no iceberg” – but still pretty thick.