Topic: election Oz 2007
Costello is not the problem for the Govt that the ALP can so readily exploit as a negative given his strong economic reputation (right or wrong), the real downer for the govt and why the polls will go south again soon, and why the so called ALP 'attack' tv adverts (but really fair critique) will work is that this PM is indecisive. When will this PM retire, why won't he commit to 3 years, why can't he be certain (as McKew points out) for such an important job?
Howard flushed out on the devastating polling, is too cute to claim in parliament yesterday an honest virtue by admitting he will retire, when it is really a necessity (despite contrast with ALP premiers keeping their plans quiet until retirement day - eg Beattie), and this 'virtue' doesn't really wash or resonate because those ALP premierships were not relinquished for age driven reasons, or fatal govt polling reasons, or covert defacto Cabinet meetings.
And the PM's job is the big cheese by comparison to the premiers and he really controls the money in our democracy.
That's why indecision is far more fatal at that level. People know the States are the smaller game/dynamic by comparison, but PM of the country has to be safe, secure, reliable, not indecisive, uncertain, aging, or as the Sydney Telegraph put it ...dithering.
In conclusion, it's the uncertainty, not Costello, that is the Govt's problem. Senator Joyce is right - Costello is stereotyped as the unpopular Treasurer but such a mould is made to be broken, and one wit in that electorate pointed out PC hasn't been "tested" because he's not in the chair for real - the same logic Howard uses to claim polls will bounce once it's the election for real.
Which alternative 'reality' the Coalition Party room believes will decide their fate as Government and/or Opposition. Howard's plea to keep hold of their "political understandings" flies in the face of the real polls which have stabilised against him, and along with that the broadsheet flagship of News Ltd. Thus the Coalition have the shock on the head from their own side of conservative media, now reality must follow ... but how long will it take? Methinks the defacto Cabinet meeting in Downer's hotel room shows in their hearts they know. And Howard surely knows too.
Howard going doesn't have much to do with being a Howard Hater as Alan Jones claimed this morning on 2GB (read above re the distinction between retiring premiers versus retiring PMs). The message to go is from diverse quarters and it's real. Howard is ill suited to a new generation of problems not least dangerous climate change, emergence of China as an economic collosus, reform of the federation etc. You can't 'fatten a pig on market day'.
When your rivals like MP Julia Gilliard start praising your earlier career on East Timor and gun controls by way of contrast with your later career say of attacking workers conditions (despite no electoral mandate) to vainly champion the interests of big business on so called lack of pace on real 'reform', well everyone can see the poor governance, that Howard is tired and needs to let go. You need to let go John. The hardest thing and the wisest thing.