Thursday, April 5, 2007
The sound we just heard ...
... was a hand grenade landing at the feet of our Prime Minister John Howard and our Treasurer Peter Costello. Call me a 'Conspiracy Theorist' ... call me an 'Old Pinko' ... accuse me of being so socio-politically blinkered that I am only capable of using the 'left' hand side of the stove ... categorise me, for your convenience, as you will - but I am tipping that the undeniable thud we heard last night has marked the beginning of the end of John Howard's Prime Ministership.
As reported on ABC News last night, the Commonwealth Government's Treasury Secretary Ken Henry (whose boss is Peter Costello) took it upon himself to fearlessly announce that 'good policy can often fall victim to political opportunity when an election beckons'. The Australian encapsulates it all rather neatly in their Editorial here.
Howard and Costello were, quite obviously, both caught horribly off-guard. It was easy to recognise because they rarely are. As media performers, Howard is especially hard to beat. Costello's hastily convened media call following Ken Henry's announcement was a brief and jittery appearance - with our Crown Prince of the Facetious Smirk looking and sounding noticeably ruffled. Costello is such a veteran of these sorts of pit-stops that it is rare to see him looking off into the middle distance, even for a second or two, trying to ignore the fact that an elephant has just trampled across the garden behind him. By Costello's impervious standards, it was a wholly unconvincing performance.
Then there was Prime Minister Howard's positively sullen interview last night with Kerry O'Brien on ABC TV's 7.30 Report. Was I the only one to notice Howard's nervous tick - the apparently uncontrollable little twitch courtesy of his right shoulder?
But 'the devil' is in the detail, as it were: the "policy" in question. And what was that? Ah, yes. Water. And who is the Parliamentary Secretary for water?
It would appear that someone, somewhere, has decided that the Government stand little chance of winning the Federal election to be held sometime this year with either Howard or Costello as leader of the Liberal Party. Ladies and gentlemen ... start your engines.