The Australian

Glenn Milne: PM’s hubris leaves the Liberal Party in ruins

YOU have to hand it to John Howard. The man who immortalised himself as “Lazarus with a triple bypass” has reached from just beyond the point of political extinction to achieve his ultimate personal aim; denying Peter Costello his chance to lead the Liberal Party. There is only one conclusion here; Howard has likely incinerated two generations of Liberal leadership on the bonfire of his own vanity.

Sid Marris: Unkind will question Costello’s nerve

PETER Costello has given history little chance to be kind to him with his sudden post-election refusal of leadership … The oddest thing is that if he had already made up his mind to leave if the Coalition lost, why did he let the prime minister endorse him so strongly? Were the conversations between them so sparse that his salient fact could not be communicated?

Sydney Morning Herald

David Marr: Pray the passionless Messiah is not channelling brother grim

KEVIN killed the party. Before his victory speech disappears into history, it has to be said the nation’s new leader turned a wild celebration into another night on the stump. Australia may have addressed a number of its troubles at the polls this weekend but not the oratory problem. Howard has his moments of rough dignity. Maxine McKew had something fresh to say. But Australia is now on notice that the Rudd we got on Saturday night is the Rudd we will hear for the next three years.

Paul Keating: Divisive leader who squandered Australia’s hopes

Saturday night’s victory was not just a victory for the Labor Party; it was also a victory for those Liberals like Malcolm Fraser, Petro Georgiou and Judi Moylan, who stood against the pernicious erosion of decent standards in our public affairs. The Liberal Party of John Howard, Philip Ruddock, Alexander Downer and Peter Costello is now a party of privilege and punishments. One that lacks that most basic of wellsprings: charity.

Judith Brett: Defeat can be a new dawn for the Liberals

The Liberal Party in government has always been focused on the leader, and so after a long period of government under a successful leader it is inevitably weakened – as it was after Menzies’ retirement and Fraser’s defeat. It takes time for the next election-winning leader to emerge. We now know it will not be the risk averse Peter Costello. But our system of government depends on two viable parties of government, so the Liberal Party will revive. The size of the defeat will give confidence to the forces for change in the party.

Daily Telegraph

Malcolm Farr: Times will suit Kevin Rudd

AUSTRALIA has its first Prime Minister born after World War II. He’s married to a multi-millionaire businesswoman and has a professional Chinese-born son-in-law. Kevin Rudd represents many of the changes to our post-war nation – the education boom, economic prosperity and enhanced cultural and economic bridges to Asia. But he’s still a nerd. Kevin Rudd is a man of his world but not a man of the world. He’s a lot like John Howard.

Sue Dunlevy: Costello quietly plotted revenge

PETER Costello’s breathtaking decision to shun the job of opposition leader is an act of revenge he’s been planning for more than 16 months. It’s political payback for his parliamentary colleagues’ failure to back him over generational change in the Liberal Party leadership last year. Costello’s colleagues wouldn’t trust him with the job in government, so he isn’t going to help them out by doing it in opposition.

Courier Mail

Clinton Porteous: Peter Costello lacked ticker for leadership

PETER Costello will go down in history as a politician who lacked courage. Despite him having been easily the Parliament’s best performer – engaging and funny – Mr Costello lacked ticker when it mattered most. The whole election could have been different if Mr Costello had, back in July last year, mounted a serious leadership challenge against John Howard when he had the chance.

Herald Sun

Andrew Bolt: Liberals on a long, hard road

Downer is a perfect example of the Liberal complacency. There was no sense of real hostility to the Government, he claimed yesterday: “People just thought it was time for a change.” Relax. He even boasted: “My view through this year was that it did not look to me as though we were going to win the election.” So why didn’t he organise a push to throw out Howard and offer new leadership under Costello? My guess: like so many federal Liberals, he had grown too complacent.

Jill Singer: So long, John, but don’t expect me to cry

I’m not sure which I’d rather be now, a fly on the wall at Kirribilli when Janette is forced to remove her clutches from the drapes, or over at the Liberals’ post-mortem. What a bloodbath that will be, full of recriminations and battles for supremacy.

The Age

Jeff Kennett: Costello shows his lack of mettle as the going gets really tough

I pen this contribution having just heard the Costello Declaration. I am angry, profoundly disappointed. That Peter Costello, the man who so desperately sought the leadership of the Liberal Party now, totally unexpectedly, indicates he no longer wishes to serve the party in a leadership role. For years, Costello has demanded that the Liberal leadership — and the prime ministership of this country — be handed to him on a platter. That was not to be. Now when the leadership is there for the taking, albeit with a heavy workload attached, he reneges.

Ross Gittins: Poisoned chalice for ‘economic neophytes’

THIS is a history- making election result. It’s the first time in modern history that a federal government has been thrown out without having presided over a recession … But that means this is a bad election for Kevin Rudd to win. He inherits an economy that, to every outward sign, is in good shape but, after a record expansion phase of more than 16 years, is overdue for a cyclical correction. So the chances of a recession occurring sometime during his reign are high — almost guaranteed. Worse, the chances of a recession in the next three years are high.