Be careful what you wish for. Very careful.

For those wishing that the Hon. Peter Costello MP were still in parliament or would make a come back, consider this.

A test of a leader and the judgement of the leader is the people the leader surrounds himself with and the people the leader takes counsel from.  Herewith a list of some of the stars Mr. Costello had “advising him”:

Ken Henry was also appointed Secretary of the Treasury by Mr Costello.

Mr Costello also maintain  a personal profile website; like Kevin Rudd does.

Let’s not also forget the important role Mr Costello had in anointing Ms O’Dwyer as his successor in Higgins.

Aesop wrote that a man is known by the company he keeps.

Spartacus wrote that a politician is known by the advisers he maintains.

Clearly John Howard knew something.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

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25 Responses to Be careful what you wish for. Very careful.

  1. zyconoclast

    Clearly John Howard knew something.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Tony Nutt and Uncle Arthur used to work for JH?

  2. H B Bear

    Costello’s reputation as an economic manager was greatly enhanced by being Treasurer when the government was being swamped with tax revenue. His main claim to fame was not allowing the Father of Middle Class Welfare to spend all of it on sectional bribes and pay-offs and ensure that at least some of it was returned to the masses as tax cuts.

    Costello was also able to sell a GST in a way that Hewson (or anyone else for that matter – including Keating in abandoning his Option C) was unable to. Costello was also the last Treasurer who grew in the job sufficiently to reject so much of the crap advanced by Treasury, albeit after appointing the Wombat Whisperer to head the place.

    Howard’s “concern” over Costello was simply the usual paranoia over his political rivals that saw him maintain a number of possible successors while PM. His superior succession planning ultimately saw him defy the party to oust him and become one of the few sitting PM’s to lose his own seat. It is arguable the Lieborals are still suffering from much of the damage inflicted during this period.

  3. entropy

    Costello would have to be a total idiot to challenge preselection.

    Even assuming there was the chance of another successful Campbell Newman gambit, why the hell would Costello want to put himself through all this grief?

    Directorships and running the future fund, combined with a sweet parliamentary pension is one whole lot less stressful, and no doubt more lucrative as well.

    His time is past.

  4. Peter Greagg

    Sparty
    Playing the man a bit, don’t you think?
    And yes that list of losers don’t appear to have much going for them!
    But then tell us which decisions he made you didn’t like?
    Perhaps, you didn’t like the run of surpluses, or the annual tax cuts, or the reweighting of taxes away from income taxes, or……
    Just sayin…..

  5. Tel

    People wishing for the return of Peter Costello are doing so out of desperation and lack of viable options, not because it’s a good idea.

    Having said that, I do think that Costello made a better Treasurer than anyone else in modern history, and if he joined the Australian Conservatives now he would be almost assured of a seat in Parliament and could give long and regular lectures on the topic of spendthrift should he be interested in doing that. Would it help the country? Dunno, we could do worse. I think that Costello would have to drop a bunch of things in order to be eligible so I doubt he would do it.

  6. entropy

    Not a bad idea there, Tel. A senate seat would be a lot of fun, even. And pays very well too.

  7. Mon

    So if Howard knew so much about Costello, why did he not know more about Turnbull and Turnbull’s lack of good judgement.

  8. cui bono

    So, no one’s perfect.
    He also had David Alexander and David Gazard as advisers. They weren’t too bad.
    Let’s talk about how the govt could go about rectifying today’s budgetary issues, realistically.

  9. Neil

    Costello’s reputation as an economic manager was greatly enhanced by being Treasurer when the government was being swamped with tax revenue.

    I have heard that a million times. If you look at the revenue figures in the budget you do not see a huge increase in revenue during Costello’s time. I think the statement is just a lie to trash Costello

  10. entropy

    Yes, the bulk of the resources boom annual revenue turned up in the Rudd-Gillard years.

  11. Rayvic

    Peter Costello is not renown for political correctness. Hence he should have enough sense to stear clear of the politically correct policies and rabble that ‘rule’ the Liberal Party these days — and wittingly or unwittingly seem hellbent to drive it into oblivion.

  12. entropy

    Costello’s greatest moment

  13. Robbo

    Costello was really really enamoured with himself and he developed a big smirk to go with his opinion of himself. Certainly a few good things happened while he was Treasurer but not nearly enough to warrant the deifying of him since he left Parliament. I have always thought of him as a slightly more competent Rudd. If he had developed some gonads, challenged and beat Howard for the PM job he would have been a lousy leader.

  14. Neil

    Certainly a few good things happened while he was Treasurer but not nearly enough to warrant the deifying of him since he left Parliament.

    Well he did pay off all Federal govt debt.By 2006 the Commonwealth became debt free. By 2007 we had $44B in the kitty earning $1B/year in income. We were one of the few countries in human history to be debt free. I would like to see anybody do better than that.

    He also started PSs paying Superannuation instead of taking it from general revenue ie it is now on the books and started a FF which now contains $120B to help pay for all the previously unfunded Superannuation

  15. Cassie of Sydney

    It’s far too late, they could draft Jesus of Nazareth as leader and I still wouldn’t vote for the Liberal slime. My vote is now parked elsewhere….Australian Conservatives.

  16. Pyrmonter

    Gerard Henderson. Brian Loughnane. Arthur Sinodinos. What were you saying about Howard again?

  17. candy

    I tend to think he would be greatly welcomed back as Treasurer.

    I have not seen him in the media much or taken any notice, but he would certainly have to keep trim and fit and nattily turned out and keep that sharp wit going. People like that kind of thing. He may have gone past the stage of worrying about such stuff, but.

  18. i would still like to know who was responsible for Work Choices; was it Costello in Dollar Sweets mode or Howard. Cos that’s what brought them undone. having being trusted with control of the Senate, to bring in such sweeping changes in one hit instead gradually changing the land scape they very kindly gave the Unions and Labor a large club to beat them around the head with…and guess what, amazingly they immediately set about doing just that. Not to mention campaigning for years on just wanting to bring in changes to allow employers of with i think something like 10 employees to get rid of recalcitrants to something like 100 or what ever the figure were was a huge betrayal in a lot of people’s eyes. it was all downhill from there.

  19. Andrew

    Costello’s reputation as an economic manager was greatly enhanced by being Treasurer when the government was being swamped with tax revenue.

    Neil’s right – that’s completely #FakeNews. Are we repeating Gillard talking points here now?

  20. Costello’s reputation as an economic manager was greatly enhanced by being Treasurer when the government was being swamped with tax revenue.

    BS. Costello managed on about half the revenue being spent today (a mere decade later). If he can repeat his success of paying off the debt and lowering taxes he should be welcomed back in a heartbeat, couldn’t give a crap if he appoints Ivan Milat to Foreign Tourism Minister. The likelihood of this however is zilch. The largest payment Costello made in one year was 11 billion, we’re paying more that that in interest AND deficits of 30 billion+.

    And what would be the point of paying it off? So we can vote them out and let Labor back in to wreck the joint again?

    Anyone who voted Rudd in 2007 should be subject to a Fuckwit Tax of 90% of their income until we are debt free. Why the fuck should I pay for everyone else’s fuckwittery?

  21. Louis

    A treasurer that made sure housing became a bubble in Australia because apparently everyone would be richer if their houses were worth more.

    The economic boom of the 90s and early 2000s happened dispute the Howard and Costello comedy duo not because of their policies. These guys naively took credit for what was a world wide trend despite all the differing policies of the different governments.
    And let’s not forget their massive expansion of the federal government both in numbers and overlapping jurisdiction with the States, nor the fact that they did nothing to stem the flow of tax paying funding of leftist controlled institutions.

  22. Louis

    Neil.

    The defined benefit scheme of the federal PS is still and unfunded scheme, that has to come out of the consolidated revenue.

    Queensland moved to fully funded scheme in the 1980s, so what was the federal government’s excuse?

  23. Neil

    Costello’s reputation as an economic manager was greatly enhanced by being Treasurer when the government was being swamped with tax revenue.

    I would like to know what influence a Treasurer has over Treasury forecasts. It could be that Treasury gave Costello a range of revenue forecasts and Costello chose the pessimistic ones. Swan could have been the opposite. Swan may have chosen the optimistic forecasts.

    But i suspect Treasury just got their revenue forecasts wrong under Costello and they got their forecasts wrong under Swan but in different directions. There was no revenue surge under Costello, none that i can see anyway.

  24. Neil

    The defined benefit scheme of the federal PS is still and unfunded scheme, that has to come out of the consolidated revenue.

    I think that is sort of what i said. Some time during Costello’s stint he started funding PS’s Super ie it is now on the books rather than being paid from consolidated revenue. By the way i think he stopped DBS’s and started the FF to make a start in funding all previous unfunded Super. The FF now contains $120B. I see in the media they are still paying unfunded Super from consolidated revenue rather than using money in the FF because the FF is growing at 8-9% but the govt can borrow at 2%. So it makes sense to not touch the FF until it is large enough to cover all unfunded Super..

    By the way you sound like a leftist.

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