Souffles rising twice


As the financial crisis has developed over the past year, I’ve been struck by the near-complete absence of any comment on the economy from Peter Costello. He would seem to have all sorts of reasons for commenting, from a desire to defend the previous government’s record, to enhancing his public profile and even, perhaps, contributing to public understanding of the issues and improving policy outcomes.

But, until the last couple of days, there’s been nothing. Now, however, he seems to be talking, and inevitably, this sudden end to reticence is being interpreted in terms of leadership aspirations.

For me, though, the more interesting question is how Costello performs without the Treasury, or even the staff allocated to a shadow minister to back him up. You can make your own judgements on this Lateline interview. My take: Costello performed reasonably well, as you’d expect from a sharp lawyer and Parliamentary debater, and he made some good debating points. But he didn’t give the impression that he had, or was interested in, any deep understanding of the financial crisis or the choices facing the Australian government, and other governments in responding to it.

50 thoughts on “Souffles rising twice

  1. John, many may not agree with me but Turnbull is the only bright spark within the Liberal Party who deserves to be leader in comparison to Costello who keeps lamenting over what could have been if only he had bigger cajones than Turnbull.

  2. I know that Costello can often be relied on to provide more witty commentary than considered analysis, especially given he is now a backbencher.

    But one line he used in the interview that I thought was particularly clever was when he pointed out that Rudd had claimed economic policy had been in the wrong direction for the last 30 years.

    As Costello notes, this must mean that Howard, Keating, Hawke and Fraser are all to be blamed in some measure for the current problems. And which PM escapes any blame? – Gough Whitlam, the master economic vandal.

    Very good line. When the Libs were last in opposition, it was largely Costello who destroyed Paul Keating. He could probably do the same job another time.

  3. Costello is not alone in having a superficial understanding of economics. That is true of most politicans on both sides IMO. A politicians skill is in convincing voters that they are capable of running the country, not actually running the country. The better ones hopefully hire skilled underlings to do the running for them. The dangerous ones are so egotistical they imagine they can work it out on their own.

  4. Australians (almost entirely the private sector) as at 30 June 2008 owed loans and placements of $176 billion and had a liability for securities other than shares of $756 billion. This compared to gross assets for Australia as a whole of $8.1 trillion (ABS 5204.0) Net worth $6.0 trillion.
    These numbers have of course changed since the GFC, but it is in such a context that $100b or $200b or even $300b of government debt is not a problem.

  5. Sorry, off topic but got tired of waiting for “Weekend Reflections” to post:

    Rabid, Fundamentalist Climate Change Deniers On The Loose

    ABC News Radio Afternoon presenter John Barron has revealed that this week’s web poll: “Is global warming to blame for the current heatwave in Australia?” was corrupted because a small number of individuals voted hundreds of times. Needless to say, the fraudulent votes all clicked on “global warming is a myth”.

    As at 6.30 pm [6/2/09], 1,832 votes were counted, 6.9% said “yes”, 2.7% said “no”, and 90.4% said “global warming is a myth”.

    When the science is overwhelmingly against you, public opinion has turned on you and reality has melted your flatulent ‘reality’ bubble, what do you do? Well, lie and cheat of course! True to form. What could the deniers be so afraid of?

    PS- when last checked they had it up to more than 3,000 votes! And they had the “Yes” vote in the minority! These people are really devoted to their beliefs!

  6. 30# Megan

    This sort of thing is often organised by the extremist leadership of the young liberals… there has even been suggestions that Barry OFarrell should disasssociate himself from that group (or that group should remove its own leadership). It sounds very characteristic of the sort of fraudulent activity they would organise.

  7. Re: 30# Megan,

    Wot’ll they think of next? Might be little kids having a laff, or, some NSW liberals (I don’t need to say “far right”, as that is implicit in “NSW liberals”) doing something they learnt from a GOP How-to DVD. Tricky little pests, they be. Still, the ABC polls should be a little more robust to attack of the rampant right rats.

    A user registration and ABC account requirement would be the best system for simply reducing fraudulent voters. Users would have to login to their account before voting, thus detecting and junking attempts to vote multiple times.

    Hot’n’horrible here in Murray Bridge today, but it’s weather, in’it, not climate. Guess the previous bag of hot days is weather too. Add up all the weather and wot do you get…

  8. 32#Donald
    I think the ABC should be a little more vigilant as well – with bizarre results like that it schmacks of an organised little email trail doesnt it (pesky little varmints….when they grow up they will look back in horror at their own total stupidity).

  9. “Might be little kids having a laff”

    Seems you may be right. Bolt mentioned it yesterday but he forgot to mention that the poll had been corrupted, unsurprisingly he presented it as “there’s hope yet because 90% of ABC listeners believe global warming is a myth”.

    Must be heady having an ‘angry mob’ at your disposal.

  10. These polls are useless in any informational sense unless the politically motivated uber blitzkreigs (like politics and the branch stackings) get ruled out. Poll pollution.

  11. Peter Costello has been taking lessons from the souffle king. He didn’t bite his lip all those years to give up too easily. Besides he can cruise for a while, try to get more sales of his book and wait for Malcolm Turnbull to implode as he did when he was arguing unsuccessfully for a republic.

    Turnbull alienated his supporters then too. Charming and smart but doomed with the voters. So who will they turn to next?

    Costello must be thanking his lucky stars that he didn’t go to work for a merchant banker; or did he know something that he didn’t share with us when he was treasurer?

  12. “90% of ABC listeners believe global warming is a myth” because it is an myth.

    A mythical global warming extrapolated on the 95% of the globe that doesn’t have temperature readings.

    A myth where a presumed atmospheric composition discrepancy of one micro-millionth is causing cataclysmic changes to the worlds climate.

    The only thing not mythical about global warming is its taxing qualities.

  13. Tony G – utter rubbish that 90% of ABC listerners think global warming is a myth. Its the work of desperates to afflict a poll vote like that.

  14. Tony G: a myth.

    You really beieve that, don’t you?

    Do you have any scientific qualifications?
    Please post any science to support the idea that we should go on consuming unrenewable resources at an ever increasing rate.
    Is Faith in the Almighty Lord Jesus Christ your strongest argument?

    PS- the deniers have been busy over the weekend, it’s now 15,500 or so votes in favour of your ‘myth’ point of view. ‘Spose the people of FNQ and rural Vic may not agree with your absolute certainty on this issue, but you will have an answer for that.

  15. Never mind the typo,

    You really do believe it. You do, don’t you?

    You can’t just be a paid shill, you seem too passionate about this. Why?


  16. Tony G. Stop voting in that poll and call the young lib varmints off! You are on the way to exceeding the readership population.

  17. Alanna;

    I think they have taken that poll down. Any way it only let me vote once so how did the poll encounter multiple votes?

    How come you guys say computers are infallible when they extrapolate fictional temperature readings over the 95% of the globe that hasn’t got hard data, yet you wont trust one to tally a simple poll? Seems somewhat hypocritical, but consistent with an ideology that masquerades as science.

    Barb @ 39 said;

    “Is Faith in the Almighty Lord Jesus Christ your strongest argument”

    My middle name is Thomas so without direct, physical, personal evidence I have issues with both faiths, Christianity and AGW.

  18. 42# Tony G
    Then why does Malcolm Turnbull have green initiatives on his website Tony if global warming is a myth? To quote Malcolm himself

    “But, first, let me say to you straight up that the question of whether or to what extent human activities are causing global warming is not a matter of ideology, or “belief”.
    This issue is simply one of risk management.
    It is moreover not a question of Left versus Right – indeed it was Margaret Thatcher, nearly twenty years ago, who called for immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    Her words on our response to climate change are as wise and as relevant today as they were in 1990:
    “Many of the precautionary actions that we need to take would be sensible in any event.”

    Now does Malcolm know the young libs are likely setting up email chains to distort ABC polls on global warming (who else would bother to do it and it sooooo like them isnt it – the leadership of YL is seriously an embarrassment to the whole party – especially after their “dob in an academic” campaign). Nothing quite like them, thats for sure.


  19. “Then why does Malcolm Turnbull have green initiatives on his website Tony if global warming is a myth? To quote Malcolm himself”

    I do not know why Malcolm Turnbull does what ever he does? you should ask him. He has nothing to do with me, although he is my local member and I did vote for him last time, only because George Newhouse the developers son and ALP bagman, known close associate of an infamous ex judicial perjurer was the other option.

    “likely setting up email chains to distort ABC polls on global warming (who else would bother to do it and it sooooo like them isnt it”

    Alanna where is the evidence the “young lib”[s] are doing anything? Why would they even need or want too? The Liberals have been hoodwinked by the AGW ideological myth also, that is why they support it.

    The non existent temperature readings for 95% of the planet are pluck out of thin air and everybody who is not getting a government grant knows it. ( the poll result which the biased ABC has now pulled clearly outlines that fact)

  20. 45#

    Come on Tony. The YL get up to all sorts on nonsense like this. Its pretty widely known…and you would know it too.

  21. 46#
    if the Young liberals believe AGW (as you say – lets ask whatsisname Angus?) and the young labor also beleive in AGW then I am really at a loss to explain the poll except for an influx of voting of some seriously extreme right rednecks from the country? Hmmm maybe Barnaby Joyce or someone else from the Nationals organised it? Its not beyond the realms of possibility…but unlikely to be as well organised at the young libs. Either way someone did.

    Either way the silly poll was hijacked Tony and ABC should have canned the whole thing. You can fool some of the people some of the time…..and thats all you can do..but you cant fool all. The sheer act of poll pollution to influence a position is damn pathetic.

    Its called organised dishonesty when you are only competing against the stray reader who may feel inclined with no push to register a vote.

    The poll result was absurd Tony – you could stop 100 people in the street and get a more meaningfuly result. Maybe I would suggest the ABC do exactly (get up and get out on the street to take a poll) to avoid the young email trigger happy poll manipulators (for Ill bet they are young – they think they own the net).


  22. Have changed my handle from my habitual marklatham to my real name to save confusion.
    Costello,julie bishop and most other politicians have convinced themselves and often the electorate that they actually have some ability.
    However their egos are bigger than their brains and the electorate is very gullible.
    Costello seemed unable to convince the private sector that he had anything to contribute on economics and poor julie cant even convince the critics.So much for that expensive private education.

  23. Well of late it looked like the souffle was rising again but Tony Abbott hosed it down (now Tony is another souffle patiently waiting his turn – as an aside Joe Hockey couldnt really be described as a souffle though – more like a bomb alaska).

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