Another Prime Minister…and another one to come? That sounds about right

The Liberal Leadership

November 26th, 2007 at 10:52am

After finally going to bed at about 7am on Sunday I slept for about 24 hours which, considering that except for about an hour I had been awake since late Thursday morning, I think is quite reasonable. As a result I missed Peter Costello’s announcement that he will not stand for the Liberal leadership, and instead retire to the backbench.

In many ways, I think this is the best thing Mr. Costello could do. He is as much responsible for the loss as John Howard is, and I think John Howard’s endorsement of Peter Costello was the proverbial “final nail” for Peter Costello’s political career, which I think is a shame in many ways as he is a great treasurer, but also a good thing as it gives the Liberal Party a chance to “move on”.

I don’t know who will take over the Liberal leadership this week, it wouldn’t surprise me if Malcolm Turnbull gets the job, but I just don’t know. In any case I doubt that it matters as I think we may see a number of leadership changes between now and the next election, and it’s the leader at the next election that matters.

I only see two reasonable options. Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey.

I think that, if Labor mantain the relatively conservative position they were elected on for the next few years, then Joe Hockey will be the “warm, fuzzy and friendly” face of the Liberals, however if Labor shift back to the left then Malcolm Tunbull will be the “strong, conservative” leader.

It has been pointed out to me that Mr. Turnbull isn’t as conservative as he may appear, but I don’t think that’s what matters, it’s the fact that he appears to be conservative to the public.

Regardless of who leads the Liberal party, if they want to have any chance of taking back power in three years time, they will get out the broom and reposition themselves as a “new” Liberal party. I think people such as Alexander Downer and Phillip Ruddock will make it easier by following Peter Costello’s lead, and with any luck the same will happen to Tony Abbott, either voluntarily or by choice. In three years time, if the Liberal party know what’s good for them, will be a “new” party.

Julie Bishop strikes me as a good choice for the deputy leadership, maybe even the leadership, but I just can’t see her actually being voted in as leader.

Anyway, the Liberal party have a rather small minority, and they are going to spend at least the next three years, and probably at least the next six, as the sideshow. They have an interesting few years ahead of them. Hopefully for their sake, and for the sake of the nation having a decent opposition, they sort out their internal squabbles as soon as possible.


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