Modia Minotaur

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Costello's Barbecue Stopper

While I've repeatedly asserted that the only way John Howard's going to come out of Kirribilli House is in a box, it's interesting to see that Peter Costello now apparently judges that appealling to middle income families is his next best bet.

But what is Costello actually promising? Yesterday's media contained a lot of heartwarming shots of Cossie & family having a cosy lunch together, huddling around personably and doing whatever they think people on fifty grand a year and under generally do. Yet when it came to the crunch - announcing any detail beyond `I'd like to give middle to low income families a better break' - Costello refused to give any details beyond `Get your thieving poor-person hands off my lovely surplus!'

Which leads one to wonder exactly what the point of such an announcement at such a time is. Certainly, he has the clear blue sky of the silly season to his advantage; unfortunately, family issues are frequently seen as soft policy by commentators and are more likely to be jostled aside in the regular news cycle. Also, the person most likely to comment against Costello's announcement, the Shadow Minister for Work and Family, Tanya Plibersek, is currently on leave (as an aside ... paging Community Services Minister Kay Patterson ... do you still exist?). Yet on the whole, the announcement strikes me - like so many of Costello's announcements - as a damp squib. Costello is likely to keep making such announcements and not paying off on them if not until the next Budget; until the next Election. Families deserve better than rhetoric and a smirk. In the meantime, it appears that they will be the new political battleground (the current edition of The Griffith Review agrees).

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