Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Walletgate II

The government's constantly churning dirt machine has backfired yet again, with Minister for Aging Santo Santoro the latest to receive a splattering (and the intended target, Kevin Rudd, with barely a speck).

The deposal of Santoro is particularly interesting, given his status as an overzealous factional heavyweight of the Queensland Right (rather unfortunately, given the current climate, he is quoted as proclaiming his desire to be `the Noel Crichton-Browne of Queensland'). Preselected amongst accusations of much branch stacking, there is no doubt that many of his moderate Queensland colleagues won't be unhappy to see him go.

Unlike the majority of his Queensland colleagues (such as George `Lying Rodent' Brandis), he is also vocal supporter of John Howard, and one of the few who didn't bite his tongue and stare at the ceiling during Walletgate. In Santoro, Howard has demoted a significant and fairly influential supporter who may at best, lose this influence; or at worst, take revenge.

As the pressures continue to mount on Howard, at what point will a leadership challenge start to sound like a realistic proposition?

As I've suggested before, Howard may simply choose the easy way out - retiring before or at the election to allow for a smooth leadership transition and to avoid the embarrassing prospect of becoming the first Prime Minister in eighty odd years to lose his seat. Should he dig in his heels - not only against Labor, but against leadership aspirants (including but not restricted to Peter Costello) - the blood could really flow.

The question is - does the deposal of Santoro suggest that this process is already occurring; that the internal balance is drifting away from Howard?

We forget it is just six months from `Walletgate' - the brief, tantalising period last year when it seemed Costello's decade-long frustration would finally bubble over - and this occurred at a time when Howard was still marching comfortably all over the Opposition.

If I were Peter Costello, I'd probably be allowing myself a small smirk right now - but I'd then remember Kevin Rudd and the fact that the government has a bigger fight on its hands than any time in the past decade and wonder if I wasn't being handed a poisoned chalice.

Update: The Oz also thinks that was a case of friendly fire. Let's not forget - this is the state we're always hearing that Labor needs to win ...


At 1:18 am, Anonymous Jacinta said...

Santo... It couldnt have happened to a nicer guy.

At 6:00 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

*Costello-like smirk* ;)

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