Well in a bit of a surprise, Peter Costello today announced he wouldn't be seeking re-election.
Rudd rather graciously gave him a chance to make a statement on indulgence before Question Time. As usual, Costello delivered a speech full of humour, but ultimately rather lacking in anything about which you could remember.
On the 3rd June, during Question Time, Julia Gillard delivered a very prescient summation of Costello's career:
Ms GILLARD—I thank the member for Blair for his question. I know that he takes an interest in question time every day. What is different today is that we have seen an uncharacteristic interest in question time by the member for Higgins, who interjected during the last question: ‘Is that it?’ Interestingly, it is exactly the same question people are asking about his political career. We will wait for the answer; we will know that very soon.
And yep, that is it. A career that never rose to the top - forever to be Howard's second banana. Forever to be the man who when offered the crown, turned it down.
In his speech today Costello said that he thought "It is just possible that both sides of the dispatch box are happy with the announcement I've made." The reality is the ALP will be sad to see him go. His 18 months of indecision has cruelled the leadership of Brendan Nelson, and also Turnbull. Now Turnbull will get clear air.
So this is good news for Turnbull - but also a test - he doesn't have any excuses now.
But let us leave Costello with the man who had him pegged some 14 years ago:
Mr KEATING —We know what he said. He said the same sort of thing the shadow Treasurer said before Christmas when he advocated—
Mr Costello —What did Beazley say?
Mr KEATING —Don't be too noisy over there. You are so macho! Twice you have had a chance to take the opposition leadership. The first time you rang your friend next to you and offered it to him. This time you sat overseas while John got it from Hawks Nest. When I told our caucus last year that you were a low altitude flier I was right, wasn't I?
Mr Atkinson —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order—
Mr KEATING —Underneath that barrel chest of yours is a caraway seed for a ticker.