Peter Costello is sounding more and more like a man resigned to the fact that he is not going to get an opportunity to be PM sounding more and more like an elder statesman ready to retire.
His recent endorsement in the Age newspaper makes some sense but there is a lot more you can read between the lines.
Doyle gets Costello vote - National - theage.com.au
Robert Doyle is probably one of the better candidates on the State opposition benches (Apart from Ted Baillieu there is no other real choice). The Liberal Party is in the same position Labor was in following the 1992-1996 State elections with Robert Doyle in the same spot as John Brumby when he was thrust into the State leadership following the resignation of Jim Kennan.
I personally have some respect for Robert, having stood against him in 1992 for the seat of Malvern ( The ALP never expected to win Malvern but it was fun campaigning never the less).
Robert Doyle is not tainted with the level of corruption or degree of arrogance and self interest normally associated with the Liberal Party and overall he is considered an honest sincere member of Parliament .
A party divided is a party doomed to failure
Good Government requires a solid and effective opposition, something that is missing in Victoria and its not Robert's fault, he is not the problem it is his back bench and their constant bickering undermine the Liberal party's chance of success.
Robert Doyle, having been elected to the leadership, is constantly being let down by his own team. The best he can do is spend his time fighting it out and hope that the State election in November will see the Liberal Party win more seats with new effective hard working members of Parliament elected to bolster the overall flagging support of the State Liberal Party.
Time to move on
The sooner the Liberal Party abandon the idea that Jeff Kennett was good for Victoria the sooner they will move forward. (If any one wants to know more about Jeff and his time in office check out the pages of Crikey.com.au - Steven Mayne, a former member of Kennett's staff, had all the inside goss and goings on related to Jeff's managenment of Victoria)
The Liberal Party have a real chance this election of gaining control of the Victorian Upper House which in turn will ensure that the Bracks Labor Government will be held accountable. (See analysis of the 2005 Senate Election)
Its not going to be easy, the more the State Liberal Parliamentary Party keep bickering the worst its going to be. They could even go backwards, if that is at all possible. The electorate does not like division and in-fighting, it serves no one other then the State Government who are looking pretty good by comparrison.
Adding to Robert's woes is that the Bracks Government have been responsible and unlike Jeff Kennett have not abused their position of power and control of both houses of Parliament. As such they continue to enjoy overall community support.
The job facing Robert Doyle is difficult. It's never easy when you have to spend most of your time defending off attacks from your own team.
Its time for a clean out - fresh new blood with ideas and ability
The Liberal Party needs to act quickly and show some internal discipline by dis-endorsing those members that constantly undermine the State Parliamentary Liberal Party. They must show solidarity and support for their leader and his efforts to work on regaining the public's confidence and lost support.
State Liberal Party Parliamentarians would better serve the interest of Victoria and their supporters if they spent more time developing meaningful policy then slagging each other in the media at the every possible opportunity. Their policy on local government and accountability is non existent.
Anthony van der Craats