22nd September, 2015
StopTurnbull.com has exposed former Treasurer Peter Costello as a hypocrite, following comments he made on the ABC‘s Four Corners program last night.
Costello effectively endorsed the knifing of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, saying it was “most certainly” the correct decision. He added:
“Here’s the rule in the Liberal Party: If you win, you did the right thing. They’re the rules of the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party really only rewards you for an outcome. If Malcolm had challenged and lost, he would’ve done the wrong thing. But he challenged and won, so the Liberal Party regards it as the right thing. The Liberal Party doesn’t give you any great rewards for loyalty. That’s not what it rewards. The Liberal Party rewards success.”
But that isn’t the attitude the former Treasurer took when his own leadership aspirations were threatened by the very same man.
In 2003, Malcolm Turnbull was in a battle for Liberal pre-selection with the sitting member for the federal seat of Wentworth, Peter King, a first-term MP. Turnbull’s brutal tactics caught the eye of several senior ministers in the Howard government, including Treasurer Costello and the then Health Minister, Tony Abbott, both of whom were leadership aspirants wary of potential rivals.
Regarding the Liberal Party‘s rules, Costello made a point of saying that it was not enough for Turnbull to adhere only to the letter of the law, he must also adhere to the “spirit“. In a Courier-Mail article titled “Costello opposes seat bid”, the Treasurer was quoted saying:
“As long as the rules of the Liberal Party are followed, people are entitled to challenge, but the rules should be followed in the letter and the spirit.”
In other words, if you win, but act contrary to the spirit of the party (for example, by branch-stacking), then you’re a bad winner.
In expressing his own opposition to Turnbull’s pre-selection, Tony Abbott provided another insight into what might be meant by “spirit”:
“There is a convention that sitting members in their first terms should not be challenged.”
Mr Costello needs to be asked the following questions: Was it consistent with the spirit of the Liberal Party to back-stab an election-winning, first-term Prime Minister? Indeed, didn’t the Liberal Party, in recent history, excoriate Labor for doing that very thing?
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