Mr Hockey had been in Melbourne’s 3AW offices listening to Mr Kroger repeat claims that former matePeter Costello constantly criticised his state and federal Liberalcolleagues. As Mr Kroger left the interview studio Mr Hockey confronted him andthe pair exchanged words. At one point Mr Hockey’s press secretary tried to get Mr Hockey tocome into the studio but was sent away. It comes as Mr Costello pointed to a bitter internal Liberal rowover Senate candidates and a shattered friendship for the savageswipe by Mr Kroger.
At the core was Mr Kroger’s campaign to get his ex-wife a strongposition on the Liberal Senate ticket in Victoria, he said. He also believed Mr Kroger blamed him for a Melbourne newspapercolumn which argued Mr Kroger’s days of wielding power in theVictorian party were over. Mr Costello said in a statement Mr Kroger had asked him to help hisex-wife Helen Kroger get a high spot on the ticket, and he hadrefused. He denied he had asked Mr Kroger — whom he dismissed as a”factional boss” — to find him a seat and said he neverintended to return to Parliament. And Mr Costello indicated the size of the rift with his former bestfriend and political ally by saying he would not “repose aconfidence in him”.
‘Economic illiterate’ Mr Kroger had revealed former Treasurer Peter Costello thinks TonyAbbott is an “economic illiterate”, doesn’t have a good wordfor John Howard and remains critical of former colleague AlexanderDowner. Mr Costello’s bitterness towards “Howard and all his formercolleagues” previously was known only over lunch tables atMelbourne restaurants and exclusive clubs. But revelations today have exposed an explosion of grudges withinthe top Liberal ranks and deep fractures within the the party is inits flagship state of Victoria, and federally. At the centre is Mr Costello, the former Treasurer hailed as aneconomic mentor by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in his Budgetreply address last night. And the lid on long-simmering feuds was lifted by a former Costellopolitical partner and best friend Michael Kroger. Drawstring Gift Pouches
The two fell outin 2007 when Mr Costello was set to lead the Coalition inOpposition after the election but instead quit Parliament. Prime Minister Julia Gillard egged on the Liberal row by sayingthere was not much she and Peter Costello agreed on. “But I do agree when he says that Tony Abbott is noteconomically literate,” Ms Gillard told reporters in Adelaide. “And I’m not really surprised that the Liberal Party iscasting around for someone who understands economics.” She said: “Mr Costello has been talking about how economicallyilliterate Tony Abbott is. He’s been on the record about that foryears and years and years.” ‘I’m out of politics’ In his statement Mr Costello said he had frequent contacts withsome of the people he was said to be estranged from. China Non Woven Shopping Bags
“I frequently speak to Tony Abbott and advise him as herequests,” he said. “We had a private dinner in Melbourne recently to discusspositioning for the Budget. I regularly speak to Joe Hockey andother senior MPs about policy matters. “I want to see Tony and Joe become Prime Minister andTreasurer of Australia. China Wine Bottle Pouch
I know what a tough job they will have toget Australia back to where it was. “I wish Michael Kroger every success in his business life andhis personal life. I do not want to spend time responding to hispersonal attacks. I hope he will cease them.
I have too manypositive business and personal interests to attend to.” He said in the lead-up to recent Senate preselections in VictoriaMr Kroger had contacted him “a number of times” askinghim to intervene with Senator Mitch Fifield, a former Costelloadviser, and Senator Scott Ryan “to preserve the position ofSenator Helen Kroger”. “I declined to do so,” said Mr Costello. “As far as I am concerned I am out of politics and had nointention of intervening in the Senate pre-selections. “The 400 hundred or so delegates are quite capable of makingup their own minds. I did not ring a delegate.
The task is to getall three Senators elected and this is quite achievable. “I understand Mr Kroger was not happy with a piece in The Ageon the issue. I did not speak to the journalist. “Peter Reith alerted me on the afternoon of Wednesday that the7.30 Report was preparing a story that would canvass allegationsagainst me (that he wanted a seat).
As is the case, I denied theallegations when they were put to me very late before the programwent to air. “It had been extensively briefed and it was made clear who wasthe source of the story.”.