We asked our readers for their view on the Prime Minister's annoucement
he intends to remain in the job past his 64th birthday.
Here are some of your responses:
Within the Liberal party there will be relief and pleasure following
the Prime Minister's decision to stay on. The community generally respects
John Howard and will welcome his decision because it brings a continuing
sense of stability to our nation.
It is likely that Kim Beazley will not challenge Simon Crean for leadership
of the ALP as I think that he would not welcome the prospect of confronting
John Howard at the ballot box once more. Simon Crean will probably stay
on as leader for the next election. I would expect the leadership contention
Peter Costello has been very gracious in his acceptance of John Howard's
decision. I expect he will remain happy with the decision and with the
greater certainty that he will eventually lead the Liberal party. The
prospect for game playing within the Liberal party has been set aside
and I would expect the parliamentary team to work as a solid group towards
confirming our term of office.
Hon Alan Cadman MP (Lib)
Federal Member for Mitchell (N.S.W.)
I believe this announcement will contribute to, not detract from, the Government's
stability. The succession is clear and the Party enjoys a level of assurance
about the future that the Labor Party can only envy.
Senator Gary Humphries (Lib)
Senator for the Australian Capital Territory
I am very pleased that the Prime Minister has indicated his intention to continue
to lead the Liberal Party. We have a team which has achieved a great deal
for Australia and for my constituents of Makin in particular, and I want
that to continue. Australia's economy is the envy of many other nations
and that is due to the successful Howard/Costello leadership team and
the strength of the Coalition parties.
Trish Draper MP (Lib)
Federal Member for Makin (S.A.)
I think the PM's decision is in the very best interests of the country
and the Party.
I know Peter Costello very well and have total confidence in his abilities
both now and for the future. I also have total confidence that Peter will
accept the PM's decision with the professional manner in which he conducts
himself at all times. Having been in this place for nearly 19 years I
have seen my fair share of leadership 'contests'. I'm not reading any
tea leaves of another one around the corner! That's the domain of the
ALP this time and attempts by anyone to suggest otherwise is sheer mischief-making.
Senator Sue Knowles (Lib)
Senator for Western Australia
I think that John Howard's decision today to stay on as Prime Minister is excellent
news. I look forward to him continuing his outstanding work on behalf
of all Australians for many years to come.
Mike Gallagher MLC (Lib)
Leader of the Opposition in the NSW Legislative Council
I am upset that Howard is not going because I think he is having a very
bad effect on the country.
I do not expect Peter Costello to challenge him as he is not more popular
than Howard, and hence is likely to hurt his own cause, quite apart from
the fact that the leader may retire whenever he likes, unless he is deposed,
which I do not think Costello would have the numbers to do.
Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans MLC
NSW Parliamentary Leader
I'm not at all surprised that he's staying. I've known John Howard for
a long time, and interviewed him countless times.
He fought hard to get to the Lodge, and I always expected him to hang
on as long as possible. Whether it's for the good of the Liberal Party
or the good of the Country (not always the same thing) is a matter of
I believe Australians feel comfortable with the devil they know, and
so the majority will welcome his decision.
The minority of law-abiding, inoffensive members of target pistol clubs
throughout Australia, whose legally purchased, legally owned, legally
used pistols he is about to confiscate, to satisfy his own fixation about
guns, will be horrified.
They have cause to regret he ever became Prime Minister.
Hon John Tingle MLC
The Shooters Party
Parliament House, Sydney
I welcome the Prime Minister's decision and I am sure that it will welcomed
both in my own electorate, and throughout Australia.
It augers well for a strong Coalition government acting in the best
interests of this country.
The success of the Coalition is built on strong leadership teams in
both Coalition parties, and the respect that they have for each other.
The National Party team of John Anderson and Mark Vaile take the views
of rural and regional Australians forward in Government with strength
The Prime Minister with his Liberal Party deputy, Peter Costello have
given the Australian people an economy which is the envy of many other
What you see in the ALP is the continual squabbling for the spoils of
office, leader against challenger, and faction against faction.
Unmasked political ambition is what drives the ALP, with no thought
for the Australian people.
I am pleased that this is not the way of the Coalition.
De-Anne Kelly MP (Nat)
Federal Member for Dawson (QLD)
It is inconceivable to me that anyone could at all have thought Howard would
He is relatively fit. He is on top.
He has no competition from Labor, nor will he have in the short term
if they change to any of those touted as replacements for Crean.
He has forged strong links with Bush and he would no doubt consider
that very personal contact important to Australia.
Despite how far out it is, it is unlikely Labor will win the next election,
but a Liberal victory is much more likely with Howard as Leader.
He would view staying as not only important for the Liberal party, but
immensely important for Australia - Howard believes he has done a good
job and is the best man for the job - most ordinary Australians would
agree with him.
He likes being PM and he is not far from becoming the 2nd longest serving
Liberal PM in history - a title he would understandably like to have -
he spent a lot of time getting to where he is - he wouldn't just give
it away to satisfy Peter Costello's ambitions.
There isn't a single matter that in any way points to Howard going -
there never has been - if Costello actually believed Howard would go then
the fact he could so badly misread such an obvious situation is a sign
of how unprepared he is to be PM.
Hon David Oldfield MLC
Member of the NSW Legislative Council
The PM is having too good a time strutting the world stage to contemplate retiring
now. In my view his selected successor is not Peter Costello but Tony
Abbott and he needs to give Abbott time to mature. That has been my view
for some time and I am not surprised by his announcement today or Costello's
Graham Edwards MP (ALP)
Federal Member for Cowan (W.A.)
The Treasurer confirmed to the Party Room this morning his commitment to the
Deputy Leadership of the Liberal Party and indicated very strongly that
he will continue working on a very ambitious policy agenda for the Party
and for our country.
He has a proven track record as a loyal deputy and his role as Deputy
Leader of the Party has brought a lot of stability to the Party.
Peter has been Deputy since 1994 and served under two leaders. I have
no reason to believe his commitment to the job of Deputy or his commitment
to the Party will change because of the PM's announcement today.
Margaret May MP (Lib)
Federal Member for McPherson (QLD)
Note the caveat " while ever it remains in the best interests of the party".
That shows among other things that he has an understanding the situation
is fluid, as the most recent polling shows. The Coalition's support has
dropped, the one constant is HIS personal support, no wonder they don't
want him to go. But he knows all that can change and I doubt he'll stick
around to see it happen. (Remember just before the last election he was
supposed to be a goner). And no, the Liberal party will not end up with
the wrangling that has ripped the Labor party.
My personal view is that I'm pleased - I want Australians to have the chance
to chuck him out!
This is wonderful news. The Prime Minister is a great and fearless defender
of the interests of our nation, domestically and abroad.
People will disagree with him on particular issues. This is inevitable
when a leader has the courage to take an unambiguous position on some
of the most difficult problems that can be imagined. The Prime Minister
is a person to be respected by all Australians, irrespective of their
politics, for his capacity to lead this great nation without fear or favour.
The corresponding irrelevance of Labor's Federal leadership has more
to do with the skill of the Howard Government in managing the Australian
public agenda than with any need to replace one 'wannabe' Prime Minister
with another. After all - why trade your horse for a donkey when you're
blessed with a thoroughbred like John Howard?
I think the PM has made the right decision - it provides a great contrast
to the ALP's leadership woes. But the PM will need to ensure his staying
on is not perceived as purely 'hanging on to the job'. He will need to
follow this announcement shortly by a dazzling display of plans for the
future, new priorities for the Government etc.
A reshuffle later in the year would also work to 'freshen up' the Government's
Costello will be interesting. I doubt there would be support for him
to challenge prior to an election, but than again, how much longer is
he expected to wait? Only he can make the final call as to what he decides
One word- Magnificent!
The PM should stay on and appoint Costello as GG.
Costello would do a good job in the role, and be no threat to the Constitution.
The logical successor to the PM would then be Hon Tony Abbott. In the
alternative, Hon Brendan Nelson, is another good New South Welshman.
No more Victorian leaders of the Liberal Party.
And typically down-playing his pivotal roles of leading Australia out
of economic malaise and establishing Australia as a significant player
in international affairs, Mr Howard asks for nothing more than the honour
of leading and serving our Party and Nation.
This is the best news I have heard for a long time that John Howard is staying
on. John Howard is the greatest contemporary leader of the Liberal Party.
He is an asset for the Liberal Party and should be retained as leader.
I hope that John Howard's announcement will settle any leadership speculation
in the Liberal party and the focus will go on the Labor party's leadership
I think that the PM should definitely stay on. We have seen his stamina,
his total commitment to the job and his steadfastness in the decisions
he makes. His ratings evidently are even higher even though he has made
some unpopular decisions (war in Iraq, GG, etc.) and a change now would
jeopardise the chance of the Coalition winning the next election.
The Liberal Party has to get wholeheartedly behind him for a win in
the next election. In the past we have seen what Mr Beazley stands for
and if he becomes Opposition Leader, things probably won't change in the
Opposition Party. So there is a good chance of the Liberal Party winning
with the PM at the helm.
Great......and Costello will get his chance, later.
It's time to go. You have succeeded in revitalising and fortifying Australia's
economy, in reforming the welfare system and in further poisoning the
shibboleth of government-owned businesses. But for the good of the nation
and of the Liberal Party, it is time for you to hang up your gun belt
and give the gold star to a new sherrif.
Your party will lose the next election, or the one after that, if a
new leader with new vision is not appointed. Australia needs a strong
leader who can abolish our irrelevant and counter-productive taxation
system, who can halt the march away from freedom and toward intervention
in the name of "security", and who can further free Australia's businesses
from the strangling tentacles of government interference.
The country associates you with an old regime of ideas - a regime which
has worked in the past but has now reached its shelf life. In a hostile
world, and without the proper guards that should have been provided by
an effective opposition, your policies are shying away from the individual,
social and economic freedoms that your party should cherish and toward
the sort of restrictions that your predecessors associated with the collectivism
they fought so hard against last century. It is hard for true liberals
to support policies that reflect ideas which they revile, and you are
losing the support of business as you make it more and more difficult
to justify investment in Australia.
Unlike your opponents, your front bench is full of loyal, intelligent
and deserving leaders. Leave now, with your supporters smiling and your
enemies scrapping over the tatters of a formerly proud opposition. Ensure
a successful succession, and enjoy a sunny retirement safe in the knowledge
that you did your best, and it worked.
Thank you for the news.
I think John Howard should stay on as Prime Minister. Having said that
I hope it has been done in a way that causes minimum infighting within
the Liberal Party.
His announcement does not come as a surprise to me. At the age of 64
he has many years of good leadership left . In fact his musings about
retirement are one of the few silly things he has said. I am delighted
he has at last made a firm decision.
I do not know how the left of the party will view/take this!
I have some worries that they will view this as allowing time for another
"Right winger to be groomed" to eventually replace Howard.
The decision is a correct one as Peter Costello suffers the same problems
of perception with the electorate as does Simon. Not as marked, but there
all the same. I am afraid that Tony Abbott is unacceptable either. Is
Brendon Nelson a long shot, given time?
This is great news. Once John Howard retires we can say GOOD-BYE to
a Federal Liberal Government.
John Howard's decision to stay on as leader of the Liberals is hardly
surprising. Its also a pity for this nation.
The destrucutve policies of welfare to work, the failed privatisation
of the CES, and above all the ripping apart of a commitment to human rights
in Australia, will continue unabated.
I remain content in my leaving a Party that is no longer liberal.
The P.M. could not have made a better decision. I am so pleased that he has
decided to stay as Leader. With Peter Costello at the helm, we could go
under very quickly as that gentleman only antagonises the voters.
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