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Costello not a leader

I have always had affection for Peter Costello. He is one of the Liberal Party’s strongest parliamentary performers and an even-tempered, amiable sort of bloke. I think he would have made a competent Prime Minister though not outstanding. He faced the problem that most Liberal Party members felt gratitude and respect towards John Howard so that a challenge to Howard for the top job was always going to be difficult. But that challenge was what Costello needed to make to confirm that he had the needed ticker to be leader. He didn’t and, indeed, waited until the eve of the launch of his book to confirm that he would not seek leadership of the party. It is disappointing. Nick Minchin’s anger over the suggestion that the Party has been destabilised in the interests of a book promotion suggests a core discomfit. He ‘doth protest too much’.

Malcolm Turnbull will shortly replace Brendan Nelson as Party leader and Turnbull is a good prospect to be a future Prime Minister. No problems here in the timing – Nelson took the flack that inevitably followed an election loss by a figurehead leader. Nelson deserves the Party’s praise for doing that but Costello puts a somewhat tarnished seal on his leadership aspirations. Future talk of possible comebacks by Costello should be ignored.

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