Movement at the station: episode two

An uneasy calm has apparently settled over the Liberal leadership issue – at least until next week’s Newspoll which, as Adam Carr sagely observes, is just as likely to start the ball rolling all over again. An election announcement in the interim would seem to be the only escape, but the Prime Minister has ruled this out. Comments thread denizens are invited to keep the discussion ticking over on this all-new thread.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

438 comments on “Movement at the station: episode two”

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  1. If we are kind enough to re elect him,

    I dont know about u guys but the way he said that sounded like he was down on his hands and knees begging us to re elect (and the tone of his voice) him/ and Costello half way through,

    Wooow John Howard actually starting to answer questions,
    what has this world come to?
    He has finally admitted he will retire if re elected

  2. I agree Sondeo (250) – Howard was terrible, slightly unhinged and blathering like he’d had a few scotch & Cokes (I believe that’s his tipple). The old man is falling apart before our very eyes.

  3. was it just me or did you think howard was goona walk out at one stage early on (the viewieng public arnet intrested in this line of questioning kerry)

  4. It doesn’t matter if he’s believed, it matters that he said it. It’s the first time he’s done so and now the public will actually really be *thinking* that they’ll eventually get Costello if they vote this guy back in. Might change a few votes.

    His other point re: Beattie and Bracks not coming out and admitting they wouldn’t serve their full terms – they were never asked! Howard is asked constantly, but I don’t remember these questions ever being posed to Bracks or Beattie during their campaigns. So, that dog won’t hunt, Mr Howard.

  5. Begging and being sorry are not Howard’s good points. Even Howard admitting that he might of got a few things wrong wasn’t great. He is looking like a dead man walking.

  6. Oh, other thing to note was that it looks like Costello won’t be assured the reins. He specifically said ‘if the party wants it’. He did say that he saw Costello as his logical successor, but it looks like the old deal is completely off.

  7. That moment where he lunged towards the camera with a face of desperation and practically begging for votes was not just appalling, it was truly freaky.

    And in all honest, I do not believe that he would step down midway through another term. He would simply concoct a new reason why he needs to stay for yet another term, all for the sake of his party and the country, of course. Would Costello still be waiting in the wings?

    Costello should throw a big spanner in the works and announce his resignation from parliament.

  8. Sideline Eye and others

    Years ago government worked on cash accounting ie cash in-cash out equals balance. The problem with this approach is you do not allow for those big budget items or their replacement eg a dam.

    There is a difference between a debt and an unfunded liability. A debt has a real value and is due at a particular date. An unfunded liability is placeing an estimate on a future expense. For example, the government has an unfunded liability in pensions for all the people alive today.

    The government closed off its old unfunded super funds and now operates like most businesses where money is put aside to meet the future pension requirements. That of course does not help with all the money that will eventually be required to cover the old funds. So it set aside a “future fund” to meet this. At present the amount in the future fund is about 60 or 70 billion and it is anticipated that this will increase in value so that it should be able to cover the funds when they fall due.

    This is one of the reasons why Rudd’s plan to use the future fund to roll out broadband is a bad idea. If one government puts aside funds to cover a future liability and another comes along and spends it pork barrelling we are back to square one.

    Also, a single debt on one one item does not mean there is net debt. I have moneyt in super, money in my savings account and owe money on my house and car. You wouldn’t say I’m in debt by just looking at how much I owe on the car.

  9. [#258 Cripes, the Oz don’t waste any time do they??]

    Not just The Oz, but even Laurie Oakes mentioned it on Ch 9 News, which will be repeated during Nightline.

    There goes another nail in the Coalition Coffin.

  10. 7.30 report performance, pathetic. More ammunition for what a deceitful and pathological creature he is. He really just exposes more and more of what he is, as he desperately scrabbles for re-election. For anyone with access to a DSM IVR, (diagnostic manual for psychiatric disorders), see the diagnostic criteria for personality disorder and see if you can pick which one. Minutes of mindless fun!

  11. Well Howard has changed from saying “Peter Costello will be the next prime minister” to “Peter Costello will be the next leader of the Liberal Party”. He just couldn’t bring himself to say “leader of the opposition”.

  12. One thing control freaks can’t handle is to be laughed at in public. Ratty was enraged at Kerry’s ridicule. I’d like to watch it again without the sound.
    The punters didn’t see it, Possum, but you can bet you furry fore-paws that Party handlers, henchmen and hacks did. They are chained to him now like the slaves below deck in the film Ben-Hur. Everything was hunky-dory when it was plain-sailing, but when the battle drums began to beat, they became inordinately agitated.

    Bwing it on!

  13. Begging yes. And yes he did look off stage for an exit. Classical body language for somebody who wants out. He will resign well in to his term. About six months that is. He’s done a deal. Please give me one more chance and I promise to hand over after the election. Looked terrible.
    KO had a KO. It really didn’t make sense to ask Alexander to do soundings about the leadership and then look grim and totally reject them. It didn’t make sense also not to consult with Peter. It doesn’t make sense because it simply isn’t true. He was lying. He cancelled the party room meeting and then only called it again after he was sure he has the numbers.
    It is disingenuous in the extreme for Peter Costello to say he wasn’t part of the whole affair. Of course he was.
    He looked like he had already lost.
    Vote for John Howard for a temporary member and a temporary PM.

  14. The squall was intensifying and the ship lurched uneasily, the creaking deck drowning out the noise of drenched deckhands battening down the hatches.

    “Tubby, do the rounds of the crew, I don’t think I can hold her much longer, do they trust me to weather this one!” Yelled the Captain as a wave crashed on the forecastle deck spreading sailors everywhere.
    “Aye, Aye, Captain!” returned Tubby, though he desperately wanted to utter “Oui! Oui!”, gingerly, he tiptoed across the heaving deck.

    “Why’d ya head this way, ya goose??” Screamed Turnkey from the crow’s nest.

    “Arrrgh! Shut up you old coot! Are you comfy up there? Maybe you could do some real work for a change!!”

    Just then, the forward mast snapped and crashed ominously on the deck on the tiny schooner.
    “Another pole not looking good, Cap’n” gasped Bony
    “Not to worry, I just need one good pole… just one good pole..”
    It was then that he realised that his bum needed a good scratch.
    “It will just have to wait” He muttered to himself, licking the salt spray from his lips.

  15. What Howard was asking for was for the voting public to please give him one more election win so he can retire at a point of his own choosing. Are you kidding me?? Does he really think the voters will just hand him that chance? Voters don’t vote for someone just because they believe they deserve it.

    And what will the rest of the Libs think of this line of thinking? Is this the best they can do? Amazing stuff.

  16. I’m surprised he wasn’t blurting out that in Australian History that only once has a PM lost his seat. He was begging his own electorate to vote him in, was sounding desperate.

  17. It’ll be interesting to see the odds on Bennelong tomorrow, with this admission. I can’t see any reason why they’d re-elect him, without a firm guarantee that he’d hang around, if he quit as PM…


    After the 7.30 Report tonight, bound to be front line comment in the newspapers tomorrow, voters have been assured that they will be voting for a 2 headed Prime Minister at the coming election, JWH and the Hon. Peter Costello.

    What a dilemna for the voters: should I vote for JWH or should I vote for Peter Costello- no problemo’ now, you have 2 for the price of one. Fantastic !! {for the ALP}.

    The slight he tossed in against Bracks retirement for family reasons is not going to gain JWH one vote in Victoria, and could cost him plenty.

    The slight he tossed in against Beattie’s retirement in not going to gain JWH one vote in Queensland, and could cost him plenty in the most parochial State in the country.

    What you are going to gain by sticking the boot into Bracks and Beattie is beyond me- it was childish and made him look pathetically out of touch.

    He tried to shift the interview to some discourse about ‘the future’ but so far in this and other interviews he has stumbled and bumbled and looked like someone with no plans for the future other than winning the election.

    His performance on the 7.30 Report tonight will do nought to assure his party room detractors that he has the grits to see this election out with any strength of conviction or turn the poll slump around at all come Nov.

    In fact, he may well have made it worse by openly declaring a two headed leader wants the electorates vote for PM- Howard AND Costello- EWW.

  19. Perhaps living in SA I picked up a different perspective to you lot, but I thought the interview wasn’t all that bad. In fact, compared to Monday, I thought it was positively brilliant (which isn’t saying much.) He was at peace with himself today, and looked ready to go.

    Howard has been hit in the past two days. He has shown his human side. And I have the strangest feeling it might work for him. The libs have been unusually positive today, focussing on the future, ignoring Rudd completely and emphasising the team factor. It’s a good strategy, and if it lasts will produce results. I know a lot of you don’t like to hear this, but while Rudd is running a positive campaign, Labor is running and awfully negative (and personal) one, which could very well backfire.

    Is this all too late? Yup, probably. But I sense there is a change in the air, and I think the fact he has announced his handover announcement today will help, not hinder him (except, perhaps, in his own seat.) But we’ll see how it goes in the next few days

  20. John Howard has been the logical leader (at least until the last week) due to his 50% approval rating. this is the man that in 2001 was dubbed in a major newspaper as Mr 30%. Remember 2001. I certainly havent forgotten. As an ALP campaigner in a seat we had hopes of winning it was one of the most traumatic moments of my political life.

    Howard has made many mistakes this year but his approval rating has shown that he was the best hope that the libs had of pulling out of the morass they have found themselves in. There would not be too many people in the ALP counting their chickens. To win sixteen seats is a major task. Nothwithstanding Crikeys TC leak and possums analysis gives an insight into what the insiders in both party machines are possession of. (This information that is not generally provided to anybody outside the inner circle).

    I hope that public opion polling and the betting markets get it right but I wont be claiming victory until the last vote is counted.

  21. Time for Rudd to release a policy tomorrow morning. Had a chat to one of my bellwethers this afternoon (blue ribband seat, supposed swinger) and he wants to know about Kev’s tax policy. Well, he would wouldn’t he, considering he earns about $80,000 pa plus commission and his wife’s a senior teacher (approx $65-70,000), has a four-bed house, pool, three cars, one child in private primary, one child in Catholic high school – and the best thing that’s happened to him in years was last July’s tax cut. He’s real keen on that sort of thing. Said he didn’t like Kev – and nor do I, even though I’m rusted on Labor – but wanted to hear what he had to say. Said he has voted donkey and Labor before (Hawke, I suspect) but is a bit unsettled by yesterday and today’s events. (Have a feeling that’s my fault). Other discussions with non-Lib voters elicited much surprise that Labor was that far ahead in the polls. We may see it and want to believe it, but there is a real world out there where Centrebet and the GG don’t exist.

    Still, Howard looked ancient this evening. You could see the lines on his upper lip due to 20 years of smoking, and only stress or weight loss causes that. Either Janet’s got him on a diet, or he’s shitting himself.

  22. I only saw the last couple of minutes of Howard’s interview on the 7:30 report (eagerly awaiting for it to be on their website) and I could not believe what I was seeing. Our PM begging to be re-elected???? I agree he looked like he had been drinking. The man is falling apart. I thought his performance in question time was bad enough: he looked like he was on the verge of having a coronary or something. But his performance tonight was 100x worse! Dear god!!!! Did not think I’d be seeing this when I got up this morning.

  23. I actually thought Howard showed something which he has rarely showed a sense of humour… other than that he was woeful…
    Fancy arranging a meeting with key ministers to see if they still want me and a majority say no and after all that Howard takes no notice… As Kerry O’Brien said why arrange a meeting? The old cool and decisive Howard seems to be crumbling…
    Nonetheless Labor must not take this for granted and must not be complacent… To now drum about two leaders could be silly and be seen as attacking the man.. or men. Labor must focus on policy and let the Liberals fight amongst themselves….

  24. Agree with Smurphy. My other half does his own private polling as he sees about 30 different voters in the Lindsay electorate every week. He says JWH is still very popular but most of his sample belong to the aspirational group.

  25. A pathetic performance tonight from a man consumed by his own arrogance and self importance. And the cheap shots at Bracks & Beattie were very tacky!
    Howard reminds me of a venomous snake, as that tongue of his keeps slitering out of his mouth!
    Please tell me we’ll be rid of that jerk by late November!

  26. “Nonetheless Labor must not take this for granted and must not be complacent… To now drum about two leaders could be silly and be seen as attacking the man.. or men. Labor must focus on policy and let the Liberals fight amongst themselves….”

    Yep, I completely agree. Labor needs to rise above it. They need to make a big policy announcement before the end of the week.

  27. Barbara he said Bracks and Beattie basically deceived the electorate into voting for them all the while knowing they were going to resign mid term or earlier- which of course is crap in Bracks case- Did he know his son would pull those stupid was pathetic.

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