John Howard is set to become Australia’s former and future prime minister once he is parachuted into the federal seat of Higgins being vacated by Kelly O’Dwyer, in a last-ditch bid to save the LNP from almost certain defeat at the looming federal poll.
This is the latest brilliant move by senior Liberal Party strategists who have become acutely aware that current PM Scott Morrison is “just not cutting the mustard” as one senior party official told The Bug.
In a scenario taken straight out of the LNP Queensland playbook – where former Lord Mayor of Brisbane Campbell Newman was defacto party leader from outside parliament until being installed as premier after an emphatic state election win in 2012 – Mr Howard will for all intents and purposes be the Prime Minister-in-waiting as he works his charm and renowned effectiveness on the national hustings in a few months time.
Mr Morrison reportedly has agreed to this scenario “after a tap on his broad shoulders” and will have his choice of ministries should the government be returned. He is expected to resume his earlier role as Treasurer.
Contacted by The Bug at his Wollstonecraft, northern Sydney home, Mr Howard was tight-lipped about the plan but maybe let his intentions slip just a little by saying: “Aaah …. aaah….narhhh….aahh… I’ll decide the outcome of the election and the aaah….. ahhhh….nar… aahh… manner in which it is outcomed.”
Postscript: Online betting agencies that have had federal Labor at the almost prohibitive odds of barely better than evens have responded quickly to the news, with the ALP moving out to $2.45 and the LNP shortening markedly to $3.50 from the $6.62 on offer just yesterday.