If Peter Costello were to consult an uberspinmeister on the best steps to maximise his future professional options, the advice would go a little something like this:
- Make your book a manifesto on the future of the Liberal Party, conservative politics and political leadership in Australia.
- Sprinkle it with gravitas — but also make it lively and readable (especially the newspaper extracts). Lace it with anecdotes that support the manifesto, but don’t use it as an attack dog against colleagues.
- The exception to this is John Howard. He is absolutely fair game in describing how and why he lost the election, but don’t get too personal. Maintain the serious tone.
- When you do the book publicity, focus on the manifesto and the leadership requirements. Rise above the personalities.
- Don’t be dismayed by the muted responses to your job applications — the timing is wrong for a former Liberal Treasurer to stride the Big End of Town.
- You’re a political operator par excellence; you don’t need to switch professions.
- Hang in there, stay calm, remain serious, don’t lower yourself into personality baiting.
- Persistence in politics is everything. Remember Lincoln. Remember Howard. Remember Nixon.