Peter Costello has ended his long tease of the Federal Liberal Party by announcing he will not contest the next election, effectively drawing his 20-year political career to an end.

The announcement, made on Costello’s new website, fulfills the commitment he made the day after the November 2007 election that he would not seek the leadership of the Liberal Party and would eventually move to the private sector. Since then, his intentions have been the subject of constant speculation from both elements within the Press Gallery and diehard supporters who wanted Costello to replace first Brendan Nelson, and then Malcolm Turnbull as leader.  Costello, despite ghost-writing and launching his memoirs last year, had declined to shed any further light on his career plans.

Costello is currently a part-time member of the International Advisory Board of the World Bank.

Costello’s announcement will remove the leadership pressure Malcolm Turnbull has been under since it became apparent his elevation to the leadership last year had not yielded any significant rise in the Coalition’s poor standing in the opinion polls and, barring a last-minute Colin Barnett-style drafting, ensures a Rudd-Turnbull election contest next year.

Australia will have fully moved on from the Howard years.