As amusing as all this seems (and it is very amusing), there is something incredibly arrogant about this kind of alleged backroom deal. There is no great push from Australians to replace Howard (as far as I am aware), the Liberals never campaigned on a leadership change mid-term (although there was media speculation) and Howard's not made any tremendous gaffs that would necessarily place him in an untenable position. So, on what basis does Costello believe he should take over? Because of some shady deal that the public did not have any say over? Look, I wasn't born yesterday and I understand that, in politics, deals are constantly being done behind closed doors. But Costello's outburst just seems childish, arrogant and high-handed.
You are of course you are right that Howard still enjoys a significant level of personal support (although some polls show it waning somewhat) and Costello is less attractive. Howard and his supporters are well aware of this, hence he retains a majority in caucus. I think Costello's on a hiding to nothing for these reasons.Regarding the backroom deals, I think it's got to be accepted in that these deals are done to secure various positions and it's incumbent on politicians to manage them in a way that doesn't take for granted the public wish nor unduly jepoardise a government.Still, I'd love to see them fully implode on this one; they are a shocking government from my perspective.
"Managed" leadership changes never seem to work. Look at what is happening in the UK where a similar deal was supposedly made between Blair and Brown. I can't think of any leadership change in NZ in the past 60 years or so that was "managed" without someone putting the knife into someone else or a party losing an election.There is an interesting issue here for the NZ Labour Party. Helen Clark will lead Labour into the next election, but people will want to know if she will stick around for a whole 4th term. Her answer to that question could determine the election...
Agreed, there seems to be no capacity for managed change in politics.I'd say Costello's tactic, a shot across Howard's bow, will have only minimal effect although some informed commentators do speculate that Howard will retire later this year (though at least one of these, Gerald Henderson from the Sydney Institute suggests it might delay Howard's retirement as he'll not want to be seen as being forced)
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