The Sydney Morning Herald leads today with some teasers for the upcoming memoirs of former Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Peter Costello. I think his memoirs will sell very well, even if many Australians don’t like the man all that much. I, to be honest about it, didn’t object to him as strongly as some did. Nonetheless, it is also relevant that The Financial Review carries a story today questioning some of his achievement as treasurer, pointing out that he bears considerable responsibility for the problems that now confront the Rudd government — considerable, but not total.
In the Herald we read, for example:
In the interview and in his book, titled The Costello Memoirs – to be published next week by Melbourne University Press – Mr Costello squarely blames John Howard for the loss of the election.
By refusing to retire to allow a renewal of the government, Mr Howard had failed as leader: “Leadership’s also about your departure, you know,” he told the Herald.
“People had switched off and the only way to crack through, in my view, was to get a new face on the government,” Mr Costello said. “And it was the failure to renew that cost the Liberal Party government.”
Mr Costello claimed that Mr Howard never seriously planned to retire. “He did not want to leave. He enjoyed being PM. He wanted to stay.”…
Mr Costello was ready to assume the leadership if Mr Howard retired, even as late as the week of the APEC summit last September.
If installed as prime minister, he had planned to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, apologise to Aboriginal Australians, and to “find a cut-through way of explaining” to voters that the fairness test in Work Choices was designed to protect them.
The APEC week was, he said, “a week of madness”. Mr Howard had asked his cabinet colleagues for their opinion of whether he should immediately retire, and then, when they said he should, he said he was not going to go in any case…
You know what? That all rings true to me.