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Howard’s Guarded Defence Of Costello Against Stone Attack

In a sign of the subterranean battle developing in the Liberal Party, the Prime Minister, John Howard, has defended his deputy leader, Federal Treasurer Peter Costello, against criticism from the former National Party senator and head of Treasury, John Stone.

CostelloThe Australian has published a letter from the holidaying Prime Minister in which he says that “in the time that Peter Costello has been Treasurer the Australian economy has enjoyed remarkable growth, low interest rates and more than 1 million new jobs have been created.”

In an article published the day before, Stone, who served as head of the Treasury between 1978-84, and as a National Party senator between 1987-90, said that Costello was a “malleable man” and that “on every cultural issue of the day during recent years, his views have been much more in keeping with the soft Left than with the culturally conservative body of electors that, just more than a year ago, gave Howard his electoral triumph.” [Read more…]

Costello’s Future Directions

The Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, has sparked an intriguing debate with a speech in Melbourne this week in which he called for a return to the “spirit of the volunteer”.

Peter Costello, Federal TreasurerDelivering the inaugural Sir Henry Bolte lecture in tribute to the former Liberal Premier of Victoria between 1955-72, Costello outlined traditional elements of Liberal Party thinking, derided faith in the capacity of government to “solve any kind of problem”, and called for people to undertake more voluntary work in the community.

Costello spoke of the globalised Australian economy and economic progress since the middle of the last century: “Our living standards are higher than they have ever been, our standard of housing, our cars, our domestic appliances, our health services are better than they have been in previous decades, and our economic abundance has increased.” [Read more…]