Did you notice that John Howard did not explicitly state anything about stepping down as Liberal Party leader last night? Even though he talked about the future opposition leader, and endorsing Peter Costello for the job, it was taken for granted that he would not hang around as Leader of the Opposition.
I'm betting that he hopes he loses in Bennelong so that he can get the agony of defeat over with quicker. Irony is, he might yet be saved by postal votes. All that means is that Maxine McKew will win the by-election in early 2008.
My focus today is on Tony Abbott, minister for health and aging, and honourable member for Warringah; and Peter Costello, federal treasurer and honourable member for Higgins.
First, Abbott and Costello debate themselves over the major issue of the day.
Second, the Invisible Man acts as stunt double for Abbott at the National Press Club.
Third, Costello is picked on by someone smaller than him who is not John Howard.
And finally, exclusive footage as Federal Cabinet calculate the size of a budget surplus.
From the Treasurer's office this morning:
"The Federal Government will provide a total of $10 million towards two key projects on Hepburn Avenue, Treasurer Peter Costello announced today.
The Federal funding of $10 million will be allocated as follows :
PETER COSTELLO: This is the last question time—
Opposition members interjecting—
PETER COSTELLO: It could well be the last question time before the election...
(source: Hansard, 20.9.07)
[Dave] Hughes: "What are you talking about, the election or the grand final?"
"Australia is in the middle of a climate change wildfire and Peter Costello just fired a water pistol at it."
- Senator Lyn Allison (Australian Democrats), 9.5.07
Peter Costello got some feedback from God this morning. Here is the transcript of their conversation.
"At this rate, it will take Australia 267 years to make the kind of shift to solar that California has planned for 10 years - a million solar roofs by 2017."
- Senator Christine Milne (The Greens), 8.5.07
Senator Milne is referring to the extensions in the solar panel rebate program, or PVRP - Photo Voltaic Rebate Program announced in the 2007-08 Federal Budget. Extensions worth $150 million - that's $7 per capita. Seven dollars.
Even Peter Costello who, one way or another, will not be Treasurer in 2005,...
- Rick Eyre, 1.10.04
Peter Costello is still in parliament, still in government, and still the treasurer, and tonight he handed down his 12th budget. He's been lucky that China has been such an avid buyer of Australian natural resources, a phenomenon that is better known under the expression "The Howard Government's strong economic management".
"It is inconceivable that a country as wealthy as Australia cannot solve a health crisis affecting less than 3% of its population."
- from "Close The Gap: Solutions to the Indigenous Health Crisis facing Australia", April 2007
The NACCHO/Oxfam Australia joint report on the state of indigenous health in this country makes for heartbreaking reading. Just one small extract from the executive summary makes for a depressing introduction: