We watched the well to do mostly older crowd fill about 2/3 of the Seymour centre last night for Costello and Coleman interview with skinny Jana Wendt. Not a Keating! musical full house in the same venue but respectable turn out still.
A couple of times I really wondered what the hell was I doing there (the spurned interviewing the spurned) but glad I went via complementary MUP/crikey ticket. Just rang up and they had one left. Even asked the 2nd audience question about the international financial bailout.
The crowd were quite satisfied I would say even the mild mannered provocateurs.
Peter Coleman presents like a calm overseer. Costello looked uncharacteristicly humble in Coleman's presence. Coleman mentioned how from early on PC presented "like Bob Hawke" as destined "for national leadership of some kind".
This is our take out:
- no regrets from PC refusing the poison chalice offered by Howard after the federal election loss.
- not just affecting a relaxed demeanour, he presents like a man happy in the bosom of his family, with references to 4 months solid of 16 hour days in the concrete bunker on that first budget and then 11 more after that.
- some cracking lines scribbled down in the dark:
- there is a real "buzz" in politics that you don't get anywhere else" spoken like a man who hasn't retired by a long chalk
- APEC 2007: "the week of madness" meeting Putin, Hu, Blair etc during the day, consulting with colleagues about Howard's leadership at night "it could be yours ... it was a saga .... these guys were where I was in 1994 ... " implying he always knew Howard would never hand over, renew the govt. There was an "unreality" and "bizarre" flavour to the APEC week.
- he was in "a psychological" traffic jam'
- it was "better for him and for others" that he vacate the leadership team after the defeat
- "the point of politics is not to be the opposition leader"
- to Jana Wendt on how long will he stay in Parliament "how that will play out will be determined in the next couple of years".
- issues that he would have handled differently in govt - there were many - Kyoto, reconciliation, and on and on the list went.
All the while wishing Malcolm Turnbull his best. Ouch.
For some reason I wrote down this conclusoin which was not said "hates unions more than Howard", and "Howard family were the imperium" meaning not the Liberal Party whose advice the PM declined when it came to the crunch during APEC.
As I said to the old dears chatting behind me "he's coming back, I can tell".
And what was my question? It went something like this:
The vice president of the US Federal Reserve from 1996 to 2006 was on World Today show yesterday, and I noticed your opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald too. He said the Congress were right to vote down the bail out package. What's your opinion and of the new bail out package too?
In short that new bailout package with conditions should pass and will pass, but that the people on mainstreet were right to be very upset about paying for the irresponsible behaviour of some people on the markets. It was much longer than that but that was the gist.
There was plenty more I've left out and he didn't convince me to vote Liberal or anything but it was a useful evening.
And the biggest elephant of all was not so much silently in the room as bestride the whole building unnoticed by presenters or audience: The Iraq War.
As if on cue Malcolm Turnbull was on Sydney abc radio first item on the morning show. Methinks it would not be a reach to say he was briefed on Costello's little soiree of the night before and felt the call of some publicity of his own?