John Howard may have ignored the Crosby/Textor advice (View Part 1 and Part 2 as a PDF), but it seems that one of his few fearless backbenchers believes it makes sense.

“We are losing the presidential style-campaign,” WA MP Mal Washer says. “John Howard has almost got to step back.”

But what if the PM steps down? What would the timetable be?

The political action shifts from Sydney to Canberra next week when Parliament returns.

There’ll be some APEC hangover for the first few days with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen addressing a joint sitting on Tuesday morning.

Our PM is already dealing with APEC hangovers of his own. This week was supposed to be all about him. Instead, today’s headlines have been about Kevin Rudd speaking Mandarin  – or the Chaser boys. The tabloids have sniffed the breeze – and it has a Queensland tang.

Nielsen is due on Monday. No doubt Mark Textor is beavering away. Both of them will measure the hangover.

As Crikey reported yesterday, there is a strong possibility Howard will have made a decision before it’s business as usual to either resign or call an election. These will assist him.

And if he makes up his mind to go, then it’s easy.

Harper flies out late on Tuesday. There could be a special party room meeting and a visit to the GG then. The order doesn’t matter. A ballot for the Liberal leadership could be held virtually straight away, with Parliament sitting and all the MPs in one place. There could be a new PM sitting at the dispatch box by Question Time on Wednesday if John Howard wants it.

It’s all his call.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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