Kevin Rudd’s appointment of Peter Costello to the Future Fund sends two signals.
The first is that Rudd wants to be seen as a national leader, rather than a Labor leader — above partisanship and self-interest.
The second is that the Coalition should give up — its best and brightest have left politics and now work for him.
Peter Costello is, after all, the man whom every Coalition MP expected (hoped!) would lead them against Rudd at the election next year.
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Despite the ostensible bipartisanship of the appointment, both signals reinforce Rudd’s dominance of the Australian political landscape, even as some on his own side complain about handing out jobs to their most hated opponents, and Paul Keating rages about disloyalty to Labor.
Whether Costello is the best man for the job is another question. He established the Fund, but he has no expertise in funds management, which is the Future Fund’s primary role. But he is the best man for Kevin Rudd’s purposes. If the Prime Minister can take on the mantle of national leader, his strong political position will be unassailable.