Peter Howard Costello, AC (born 14 August 1957), is a former Australian politician and lawyer who served as the Treasurer in the Australian Howard Government from 1996 to 2007. He is the longest-serving Treasurer in Australia's history. Costello was a Member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1990 to 2009, representing the Division of Higgins. He also served as the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party from 1994 to 2007.
|Treasurer of Australia|
11 March 1996 – 3 December 2007
|Prime Minister||John Howard|
|Preceded by||Ralph Willis|
|Succeeded by||Wayne Swan|
|Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party|
23 May 1994 – 29 November 2007
|Preceded by||Michael Wooldridge|
|Succeeded by||Julie Bishop|
|Member of the Australian Parliament|
24 March 1990 – 19 October 2009
|Preceded by||Roger Shipton|
|Succeeded by||Kelly O'Dwyer|
Peter Howard Costello
14 August 1957
|Political party||Liberal Party of Australia|
|Spouse(s)||Tanya Costello (née Coleman)|
|Alma mater||Monash University|
Costello was born on 14 August 1957 in Melbourne into a middle-class family of practising Christians. He was the second of three children: his elder brother, Tim Costello, is a prominent Baptist minister and former CEO of World Vision Australia. Costello was educated at Carey Baptist Grammar School and Monash University, where he studied arts and law, graduating with honours in 1982. Costello is a descendant of Irish immigrant Patrick Costello, who was expelled from the Parliament of Victoria in the 1860s for electoral fraud.
During the 1980s, Costello was a solicitor at the law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques, then became a barrister and represented employers in some of Australia's best known industrial relations disputes.
In 1983 and 1984, Costello represented the National Farmers' Federation in a case against the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU). The AMIEU was seeking a unit tally system to be set up in abattoirs in the Northern Territory. The dispute focussed on one abattoir, Mudginberri, which chose to fight the AMIEU claim. Ultimately the AMIEU claim was unsuccessful.
Costello became counsel to organisations representing small business and rose to prominence in the 1985 Dollar Sweets case, as junior counsel assisting Alan Goldberg QC, successfully representing a confectionery company involved in a bitter industrial dispute.
During his student years, Costello was active in student politics. For a time, he was an office-bearer of the Social Democratic Students Association of Victoria, an affiliate of the Balaclava Branch of Australian Young Labor. In 1977, Costello was assaulted by a left-wing student politician, receiving mainstream media attention for the first time in his career as a result.
After graduating, Costello became more conservative but retained liberal views on some social issues. In 1984 he was a founding member of the H. R. Nicholls Society, a think tank on industrial relations. In the late 1980s, he was identified as part of the New Right movement, which was organised to some extent in the H. R. Nicholls Society.
In 1990, Costello defeated sitting member Roger Shipton in a preselection ballot for the comfortably safe Liberal electorate of Higgins, the seat once held by Harold Holt and John Gorton. He entered the House of Representatives at the age of 32. Costello made his maiden speech in May 1990 and mentioned "government should be subservient to the citizen; the Executive accountable to the representative parliament; and the monopoly give way in the face of the individual." He was immediately promoted to the Opposition front bench and proved an effective debater against the Labor government of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. By 1992 he was shadow Attorney-General, and in 1993 he became shadow Finance Minister under John Hewson.
Hewson's shock defeat at the 1993 election brought Costello into consideration as a leadership contender. Costello's profile became higher after the "sports rorts affair" with Sport Minister Ros Kelly: after revealing Kelly did not handle funding properly for the policy, Hewson and Costello demanded she resign, and she did. Hewson was deposed as Liberal leader in May 1994, Costello supported Alexander Downer for the leadership, becoming his Deputy Leader and shadow Treasurer. What may have prevented Costello from challenging Hewson for the leadership himself was that it would have proven correct an accusation by Victorian Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett that Costello and his friend, former Victorian Liberal party president Michael Kroger, had undermined Hewson's leadership prior to Hewson calling the leadership spill that partly occurred because of Costello in the first place.
However, Downer resigned in January 1995. Costello did not seek the leadership, instead supporting John Howard. It was revealed in July 2006 that this was due to a December 1994 meeting between Howard, Costello and Ian McLachlan during which Howard allegedly agreed to stand aside after one and a half terms as Prime Minister in return for Costello's agreement not to challenge for the leadership. Howard denied that this was a formal arrangement.
Hewson noted with irony in 2009 that Costello's best chances of becoming leader were at the 1994 leadership spill or when Downer stood down, several months later.
As Deputy Leader until 2007, he was the longest serving in that role, achieving that status in 2006 after breaking the record of the party's first Deputy Leader Sir Eric Harrison. He also spent all but the last two years of his career on the front bench.
The Liberal/National coalition headed by Howard won the 1996 election, defeating the Keating government on a 29-seat swing, and Costello became Federal Treasurer at age 38, the same age at which Howard himself had become treasurer in 1977. He oversaw the return to and maintenance of federal budget surpluses, which enabled significant reduction in government debt. Costello brought down twelve consecutive Federal Budgets, including ten surpluses. During this period he eliminated the Commonwealth Government net debt of $96 billion. He also sold 2/3rds of the Reserve Bank's substantial gold holdings at a record low price. Inflation, interest rates and unemployment all fell and remained generally low during Costello's term as Treasurer.
Tax reform became a major policy focus for Costello. Although John Howard had promised during the 1996 election campaign that he would "never, ever" introduce a GST, it returned as Liberal Party policy for the 1998 election. It was passed through the Senate with the help of the Australian Democrats. Until July 2005, Costello's own agenda of labour market deregulation remained blocked by the government's lack of a Senate majority.
Costello advocated for change to a republic at the Australian Constitutional Convention 1998. He rejected any suggestion that Australia was not already an independent nation and said that the Australian Constitution works "remarkably well". It was the institution of monarchy that was the crux of his argument for change:
Costello supported the 1999 referendum on whether Australia should become a republic. However, he has also stated, at a Liberal and National Party gathering in 1992 in company with John Sharp MP, that he would support an Australia-based system of constitutional monarchy, in which a member of the House of Windsor would be invited to relocate to Australia and serve as the monarch of Australia, in place of the current system in which the crowns of Australia and the United Kingdom are both held by the same individual.
After the 2001 election, he attracted criticism for not securing funding for a key election promise to extend the Medicare safety net. In February 2006, Costello caused controversy during a lecture at the Sydney Institute when questioned about the government's refusal to legally recognise same-sex marriage. He stated, "I think we do recognise the rights of gay and lesbian people in Australia. We do not criminalise [their] conduct or behaviour." He also pointed out that the law was changed in 2004 to recognise same-sex couples with regards to superannuation. He stated that marriage should only be recognised between heterosexual couples. Also during the same speech, Costello criticised "mushy misguided multiculturalism," warning immigrants that the acceptance of Australian values was "not optional."
Costello expected to gain the Liberal leadership some time during Howard's second term as Prime Minister, as per Howard's alleged December 1994 offer. When this did not eventuate, it is alleged that Costello became frustrated, particularly when Howard announced, in July 2003, his intention to lead the government into the 2004 election.
During the 2004 election campaign, Howard avoided saying whether he would serve a full term if re-elected, saying only he would remain as long as his party supported him. The government's subsequent success in winning control of the Senate raised further speculation that Howard would delay his retirement, and the prospect of a Costello leadership succession appeared to recede.
In July 2006, the alleged Costello/Howard succession deal was made public by Ian McLachlan. Costello confirmed the incident had occurred and that he shared McLachlan's interpretation of events. Howard denied the claims repeatedly, stating the continued public drama displayed "hubris and arrogance" and that the leadership was the party room's to decide, not a prize to be handed over by leaders to successors.
Press Gallery columnist Michelle Grattan described Costello's actions :
Costello doesn't have the numbers to blast John Howard out. But he does have the dirt to make him look bad, and he's throwing it.
Despite tensions between the Prime Minister and the Treasurer, nothing further came of those events. Neither Howard nor Costello took any action to remove the other from office, or resign. However, on 12 September 2007, amid renewed leadership tensions and a series of unfavourable public polls, Howard confirmed he would step aside well into the next term, if re-elected, and that Costello would be his "logical successor".
A federal election was held on 24 November 2007. An exit poll of 2,787 voters by Auspoll, commissioned by Sky News, included a question on the statement "I don’t want Peter Costello to become Prime Minister". Fifty-nine per cent agreed, while 41 per cent disagreed. The Coalition lost the election.
Costello was widely expected to assume the Liberal leadership after the 2007 election, but the day after the election, in a surprise announcement, he said that he would not seek or accept the leadership or deputy leadership of the Liberal Party. This was after John Howard, in his concession speech on the night of the election, specifically endorsed Costello as the next leader for the Coalition. A week later, he indicated that he would be unlikely to serve out in full his parliamentary term of three years.
However, as opposition leader Brendan Nelson struggled, speculation mounted that Costello would change his mind and seek the leadership. In August 2008, he ruled out challenging Nelson, but did not comment on the prospect of Nelson stepping aside in his favour.
Finally in September 2008, just before the release of his memoirs, The Costello Memoirs, Costello specifically re-confirmed that he would not be seeking leadership of the party and would leave politics at a time that suited him. Media attention immediately shifted to whether Costello's decision cleared the way for a leadership challenge by Malcolm Turnbull (who was the shadow treasurer at the time). Tony Abbott described the decision as a great loss to Australia and to Costello himself, who might continue to have regrets for the rest of his life at what might have been. Media outlets capitalised on Costello's failure to categorically rule out any future leadership challenge. An incumbent-announced leadership spill on the morning of Costello's book release saw Turnbull defeat Nelson. Costello remained as an opposition backbencher. On 18 September 2008, Costello was appointed to the World Bank’s new Independent Advisory Board, (IAB), which will provide advice on anti-corruption measures.
On 15 June 2009, Costello announced that he would retire from Parliament at the next Federal election. However on 7 October 2009, Costello announced he would be resigning from Parliament when it resumed later in the month. He resigned on 19 October 2009, triggering the 2009 Higgins by-election.
Costello is a member of the Board of Guardians of the Australian Government Future Fund since December 2009. Amidst some controversy it was announced that David Gonski would succeed the inaugural Chairman, David Murray when Murray's term expired on 3 April 2012. Gonski's appointment was in spite of an independent review (that was conducted by Gonski). Gonski reported to the Australian Government that the existing Guardians favoured Costello to succeed Murray as Chairman.
Costello is a managing partner of BKK Partners, a boutique corporate advisory run by former Goldman Sachs JBWere managers. He also chairs the advisory board of specialist corporate advisory firm ECG Advisory Solutions.
In 2008, his best-selling memoir was published by Melbourne University Press.
In October 2010, Howard published a memoir, Lazarus Rising, that drew the ire of Costello and others. Howard used the memoir to settle some personal scores, calling Costello "an elitist, who's unable to connect to ordinary Australians" and accuses Costello of bungling the leadership handover issue. Costello responded by claiming that Howard "appears to be incapable of taking responsibility for the defeat of the government and for losing his seat of Bennelong."
In May 2012, Michael Kroger accused Costello of being interested in returning to Federal Parliament, most likely by getting a Liberal MP to step aside, with the hope of becoming leader of the Liberal Party. Costello denied this, saying that Kroger had approached him asking to help preserve his ex-wife Helen Kroger's Senate position. At around the same time, Helen Kroger was demoted on the Senate Liberal ticket for Victoria. Kroger believes Costello was targeting her along with others; Kroger also claimed Costello very often criticises past and present Liberal party MPs and officials.
On 26 January 2011, Peter Costello was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for "eminent service to the Parliament of Australia, particularly through the development of landmark economic policy reforms in the areas of taxation, foreign investment, superannuation and corporate regulation, and through representative roles with global financial organisations".
|Parliament of Australia|
| Member for Higgins
1990 – 2009
| Treasurer of Australia
1996 – 2007
|Party political offices|
| Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia
1994 – 2007
A spill of the leadership of the Liberal Party of Australia took place on March 23 1993, following incumbent leader John Hewson receiving blame for losing the 1993 "unloseable election" because of his staunch promotion of a Goods and Services Tax and an inability to sell his policies to voters. Initially Hewson stated he would not recontest but was convinced to do so to block former leader John Howard from winning. The spill was won by Hewson over Howard by 47 votes to 30 while backbencher Bruce Reid attracted only one sole vote. For the Deputy leadership Michael Wooldridge won against Peter Costello1995 Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill
A leadership spill of the federal parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party of Australia was held on 30 January 1995 after the resignation of Alexander Downer following several months of poor personal ratings for him. John Howard was elected unopposed in a vote of Liberal Party Members of Parliament. Howard thus became the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Australia. Peter Costello remained deputy leader. Howard became the first Liberal leader to be elected unopposed since Harold Holt in 1966.2006 Australian federal budget
The 2006 Australian federal budget for the Australian financial year ended 30 June 2007 was presented on 16 May 2006 by Peter Costello, the Treasurer of Australia in the Howard Government.
The budget provided for an underlying cash surplus of $10.8 billion, the Government's ninth surplus. The net government debt was zero in the 2006/07 year, the first time in three decades, from a peak of 18.5% of GDP ($96 billion) in 1995/96.The budget included further personal tax reform including tax cuts worth $36.7 billion over four years. Major improvements to business taxation to encourage take‑up of new technology and to simplify taxes for small business. There was also a plan to dramatically simplify and streamline superannuation. Other key initiatives include $2.3 billion for road and rail infrastructure, including to upgrade key sections of the Hume, Bruce and Pacific highways more quickly, a $1.9 billion boost to funding for mental health services, and families, older Australians and carers were to receive more support.2007 Liberal Party of Australia leadership election
A spill of the leadership of the Liberal Party of Australia took place on 29 November 2007, following the defeat of the Howard Government at the federal election five days earlier. The resulting ballot was an open race as outgoing Prime Minister John Howard had lost his own seat at the election, and his preferred successor Peter Costello refused to stand.
An election for the deputy leadership of the party was held, as under Liberal Party rules, all leadership positions are declared vacant after a general election, no matter what the outcome.2009 Higgins by-election
The 2009 Higgins by-election was held for the Australian House of Representatives Division of Higgins on 5 December 2009. This was triggered by the resignation of former Treasurer and former Liberal Party deputy leader Peter Costello. The by-election was held on the same day as the Bradfield by-election.
It was contested on the same boundaries drawn for Higgins at the 2007 federal election. At that election, the Liberal Party won the seat over the Labor Party with 57.04 per cent of the vote on a two-party-preferred basis, the closest result in the seat's 60-year history. The Liberal candidate has never had to go to preferences to win the seat.
The writ for the by-election was issued on 30 October, with the rolls closing on 9 November. Candidate nominations closed 12 November, and were announced the following day. The Labor Party did not nominate a candidate.
Both the Higgins and Bradfield by-elections were the last by-elections for the House of Representatives until the 2014 Griffith by-election.Collins Street Baptist Church
Collins Street Baptist Church is a Baptist church in central Melbourne, Australia. Founded on this site in 1845, it is the oldest Baptist church in Victoria. It is known as the former church of the outspoken minister Tim Costello, brother of the former Treasurer of Australia, Peter Costello.Division of Higgins
The Division of Higgins is an Australian Electoral Division in Victoria for the Australian House of Representatives. The division covers 40 km2 (15 sq mi) in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs. The main suburbs include Armadale, Ashburton, Kooyong, Malvern, Malvern East, Prahran and Toorak along with parts of Carnegie, Glen Iris, Hughesdale, Murrumbeena, South Yarra and Windsor.
Since the 2009 Higgins by-election, Kelly O'Dwyer from the Liberal Party has been the member for the Division. This followed the retirement of Peter Costello, who had served as Treasurer of Australia throughout the 1996–2007 tenure of the Howard Government.Dollar Sweets dispute
The Dollar Sweets dispute in 1985 was a small industrial dispute with major legal ramifications in industrial relations where an employer resorted to a common law verdict and damages in a case in the Supreme Court of Victoria to resolve a dispute after industrial courts proved ineffective. It was the first time a trade union was forced to pay common law damages to an employer for losses suffered through picketing in Australia. The dispute was also significant for boosting the career of the barrister representing the company, Peter Costello, leading him to stand for federal Parliament and become Treasurer in the Howard Government.Electoral results for the Division of Higgins
This is a list of electoral results for the Division of Higgins in Australian federal elections from the division's creation in 1949 until the present.H. R. Nicholls Society
The H.R. Nicholls Society is an Australian think tank of the New Right on industrial relations. It was created in March 1986 after John Stone, Peter Costello, Barrie Purvis, and Ray Evans organised a seminar aimed at discussing the Hancock Report and other industrial matters.The Society is named after Henry Richard Nicholls (6 January 1830 – 13 August 1912), an editor of the Hobart newspaper The Mercury, who in 1911 published an editorial criticising H. B. Higgins, then a High Court judge and President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, accusing Higgins of behaving in a politically partisan and unjudicial manner after attacking a barrister. This led to Nicholls being prosecuted for contempt of court by the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth, only to be acquitted by the full bench of the High Court.Regular contributors to the Society's publications have been Ray Evans, Adam Bisits and Des Moore, the Director of the Institute for Private Enterprise. Adam Bisits was the President of the Society until 2017, replacing Evans, who stepped down in 2010.Kelly O'Dwyer
Kelly Megan O'Dwyer (born 31 March 1977) is an Australian politician and Cabinet Minister. She is the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and the Minister for Women. O'Dwyer is the member for the Division of Higgins in the Australian House of Representatives, elected as a member of the Liberal Party on 5 December 2009 at the 2009 Higgins by-election, to succeed a former Treasurer, Peter Costello. In 2018 she was listed as one of BBC's 100 Women. On 19 January 2019, O'Dwyer announced that she would not be contesting the upcoming election.Members of the Australian House of Representatives, 2007–2010
This is a list of members of the Australian House of Representatives of the 42nd Parliament of Australia (2007–2010), as elected at the 2007 federal election.There were a total of 150 members. Since the 2007 federal election, and subsequent by-elections and defections, the Labor Party had 83 members and formed the government. The opposition Coalition had a total of 63 members; 54 of whom were Liberal members and nine of which were National members (down one Liberal and one National since the election). In addition, there were four Independents (up from two at the election).
1 The National MP for Gippsland, Peter McGauran resigned on 4 April 2008; National candidate Darren Chester won the resulting by-election on 28 June.
2 The Liberal MP for Mayo, Alexander Downer, resigned on 14 July 2008. Liberal candidate Jamie Briggs was elected at the resulting by-election on 6 September.
3 The National MP for Lyne, Mark Vaile, resigned on 19 July 2008. Independent candidate and outgoing NSW state MP for Port Macquarie, Rob Oakeshott, won the resulting by-election on 6 September.
4 The Liberal MP for Bradfield, Brendan Nelson, resigned on 19 October 2009. Liberal candidate Paul Fletcher was elected the resulting by-election on 5 December 2009.
5 The Liberal MP for Higgins, Peter Costello, resigned on 19 October 2009. Liberal candidate Kelly O'Dwyer was elected at the resulting by-election on 5 December 2009.
6 The MP for Ryan, Michael Johnson, was expelled from the Liberal Party on 20 May 2010.Michael Wooldridge
Michael Richard Lewis Wooldridge (born 7 November 1956) is an Australian doctor, company director, and a former politician. He was a Member of the Australian House of Representatives for the Liberal Party representing the Division of Chisholm, Victoria, between 1987 and 1998, and representing the Division of Casey, Victoria, between 1998 and 2001.
He was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party from March 1993 to May 1994.Peter Costello (author)
Peter Costello (3 April 1946, Dublin) is an author and editor, described by the American critic Robert Hogan in the Greenwood Dictionary of Irish Literature as “a contemporary embodiment” of the “tradition in Irish literature of the independent scholar, who has an erudition embarrassing to the professional academic”.Peter Costello (disambiguation)
Peter Costello (born 1957) is a former politician who served as Australian Treasurer from 1996 to 2007.
Peter Costello may also refer to:
Peter E. Costello (1854–1935), American politician
Peter Costello (author), Irish historian and biographer
Peter Costello (footballer) (born 1969), English footballerPeter Costello (footballer)
Peter Costello (born 31 October 1969) is a retired English professional footballer. He played as a striker for clubs in England and Hong Kong. He was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire.Peter E. Costello
Peter Edward Costello (June 27, 1854 – October 23, 1935) was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives for Pennsylvania.
Peter Costello was born in Boston. He moved to Philadelphia in 1877. He engaged in various manufacturing industries and general construction work and real estate development. He was a member of the common council of Philadelphia from 1895 to 1903, and director of the department of public works of Philadelphia from 1903 to 1905. He was again a member of the common council from 1908 to 1915.
He was elected as a Republican to the Sixty-fourth, Sixty-fifth, and Sixty-sixth Congresses. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1920. Costello continued in the real-estate and investment brokerage business in Philadelphia until his death.Roger Shipton
Roger Francis Shipton (5 August 1936 – 18 January 1998) was an Australian politician. In 1975 he succeeded former Prime Minister Sir John Gorton as the Liberal Party member of the Australian House of Representatives for the Division of Higgins.In the lead up to the 1990 Federal Election it was suggested that he would stand aside to allow John Elliott to take his seat, and the leadership of the Federal Liberal Party, but he declined to make way for Elliott and remained the member for Higgins.
Despite his stand he was successfully challenged for pre-selection by Peter Costello with support from Michael Kroger and retired from parliament after being defeated. He died in 1998 due to complications following heart surgery.
He is the godfather of Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth.Tim Costello
Timothy Ewen "Tim" Costello AO (born 4 March 1955) is an Australian Baptist minister and the current Chief Advocate of World Vision Australia. Costello is the brother of Peter Costello, the former treasurer of Australia and Federal Member for Higgins.
|Party Related Organisations|