Nick Minchin is spot on. Making Peter Costello chairman of the Future Fund would have been a very bad decision. If Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and the rest of the coalition’s current economic brains trust can’t see that, it is a real worry.
“The fund must be and be seen to be independent, professional, completely above politics and entirely apolitical,” Minchin wrote yesterday in a letter to The Australian newspaper. Appointing a former politician—even one of the stature of Costello—as chairman would therefore be most unwise.”
He added that those members of the Fund’s board of guardians who favoured the appointment of the former Treasurer to the job were “naïve”. Minchin knows what he is talking about. As Finance Minister for the last six years of the Howard Government, he was—with Costello—the co-creator of the fund set up to make provision for unfunded Commonwealth superannuation liabilities.
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Wayne Swan has a lot of fun in parliament comparing the opposition’s economic team to The Three Stooges. He casts leader Tony Abbott as Moe, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey as Larry, and finance spokesman Andrew Robb as Curly.
And it is true that, at times in recent weeks, the trio has turned presentation of coalition economic policy into stapstick comedy-tripping over each other’s statements, slip-sliding on budget figures as though they are banana skins, turning parliamentary questions into pratfalls.
But members of the Government have shown themselves to be dab hands at slapstick, too. If Abbott and Co. are the Stooges, the Government is the Marx Brothers. Even some of Groucho’s best one-liners fit.
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Update 7.30pm: Andrew Robb has now said he will not challenge Julie Bishop for the deputy leader’s position tomorrow. More here.
The Australian is reporting that Julie Bishop’s position as deputy leader of the Liberal Party may be under threat. Andrew Robb has confirmed this afternoon he has been approached by colleagues urging him to challenge her at tomorrow’s partyroom meeting.
But is this wise? Putting aside the obvious observations about how Julia Gillard came to lead the Labor party, the political reality now is she has been returned to office. With all the machismo that already surrounds Tony Abbott’s leadership style, installing another tough guy like Robb as his second-in-command as they take the fight to the Prime Minister is not without its risks.
Having survived as deputy leader through the ousting of Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull, and continuing in the role with Tony Abbott, Bishop has earned a disparaging nickname among some Liberal MPs. She’s known as “the cockroach” because she’d survive anything.
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We read this morning the latest Hail Mary throw from some people in the Coalition is to install Andrew Robb as the next Liberal leader.
At first the news was somewhat startling. After all, Mr Robb is not known for his high-profile, media savvy or charisma.
But then the brilliance of the plan dawned on The Punch. Think about it: “Rudd for PM”, “Robb for PM”. Who’d know the difference?
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