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Mixed reaction in Costello heartland -

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Mixed reaction in Costello heartland

The World Today - Thursday, 11 September , 2008 12:52:47

Reporter: Simon Lauder

ELEANOR HALL: So what do those Australians who are represented by Peter Costello in his Melbourne
electorate think of the leadership saga?

Simon Lauder went to the Higgins electorate and found that some locals think Mr Costello could
still become Prime Minister, while others are sick of the speculation and just want him to leave
parliament.

(Tram sounds)

SIMON LAUDER: This is Toorak Road, a trendy part of town and busy shopping strip in Melbourne's
inner east.

Peter Costello has been the local member since 1990. So what do locals make of the news that the
former treasurer plans to stay on the back bench? Some are clearly disappointed.

VOX POP 1: Oh, I would have liked to see him be the leader of the party and eventually be prime
minister. I thought he'd be a good prime minister.

SIMON LAUDER: And what do you make of his statement that he'll leave parliament when it suits him?

VOX POP 1: It's fair enough. I mean, no-one else can make the decision besides him.

VOX POP 2: Look I think it's his business and I'm quite happy with the way he's behaving in
Higgins. He's looking after us. I mean, what's the difference if he wants to leave or if he wants
to stay? That's his business.

SIMON LAUDER: You don't think it's the end of the Peter Costello leadership speculation?

VOX POP 2: Oh I don't think anything. It's his business. I think the Liberal Party should get on
with doing what they're doing and stop trying to crucify poor old Nelson. And just you know, just
leave it. Let things happen.

SIMON LAUDER: Does it bother you that he'll leave parliament when it suits him rather than at an
election?

VOX POP 3: No, it doesn't. He's been there for a long time and I think he's entitled to go when he
wants to.

VOX POP 4: I'd say realistically, he'll probably have a shot. He was pushing for it throughout the
Howard tenure and I've got a strange feeling he might get there.

SIMON LAUDER: You don't think this is the end of the story?

VOX POP 4: Not yet. No one's got faith in Brendan Nelson, me included, so.

SIMON LAUDER: Higgins has always been a Liberal Party seat but not everyone here is a Peter
Costello supporter.

VOX POP 5: Well it sounds like he's bludging to me. You know, if you're not really up to much,
getting paid for kicking around and no-one knows what you're up to, if he's getting all this bad
press and he's not really up to much then what are you meant to do, you know? Maybe time to move on
mate.

SIMON LAUDER: And he says he'll leave parliament when it suits him. What do you think of that?

VOX POP 6: I think that's not very wise of him to speak that way. I think the electorate won't
really want him back because of his attitude for the last year or so.

VOX POP 7: I think he should put up or shut up. He's got issues and he's, honestly you know we're
paying for this with our good taxpayers' money and the guy should just make a run or not, or just
get the hell out, you know. Just hey, you know, what's the deal?

SIMON LAUDER: One of Peter Costello's biggest fans here is the local mayor who says Mr Costello
wasn't given the chance to shine.

CLAUDE ULLIN: Claude Ullin, the Mayor of the city of Stonnington. I've known Peter Costello for
roughly 20 years. He's an excellent local member.

SIMON LAUDER: Are you disappointed he's not committing to staying in parliament?

CLAUDE ULLIN: Yes, I'm very disappointed and I really have to say, I blame the media.

I just wish the media who always said that he lacked courage, that they had the courage to support
him and equally his colleagues in Parliament...

SIMON LAUDER: You think it's the media's fault that he's not prime minister?

CLAUDE ULLIN: I think it has a large amount to do with it.

SIMON LAUDER: Do you think his leadership chances really are over or is this not the end of the
story?

CLAUDE ULLIN: Peter is a very definite person. I'd say that's it. But at the same time hopefully
someone will be able to persuade him to think differently.

ELEANOR HALL: The Mayor of Stonnington, Claude Ullin, speaking to Simon Lauder.