“The Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie held talks with Tony Abbott's chief of staff, Peta Credlin, and Labor's chief parliamentary tactician, Anthony Albanese, about his proposed poker machine reforms and other policy issues in what sources said was a bid to leverage the tightened parliamentary numbers to his advantage.”
Hockey: Not Your Average Joe is the biography by Brisbane ABC radio presenter Madonna King that's making things difficult for the Coalition this week – and unnecessarily so, according to many in the party. While it's not authorised in the sense of being uncritical, treasurer Joe Hockey did participate by granting King extended access, and King also interviewed many of the senior players in the government, including prime minister Tony Abbott and his chief of staff, Peta Credlin.
Credlin has reportedly angered Coalition MPs by telling King that Hockey's "probably got his head above every other contender" for the party's leadership after Abbott. It's the kind of remark that can only fuel the leadership speculation which began in the wake of the government's consistently poor post-budget polling. Former prime minister John Howard made similar comments to King: "clearly, if Joe does a good job as treasurer that will greatly enhance his prospects of one day leading the party if the position becomes vacant".
Many Coalition figures are annoyed by the timing of the biography, which appears just as the government is beginning to regain some lost popularity in light of Abbott's statesmanlike leadership in response to the MH17 tragedy. It includes such revelations as that Hockey wanted a budget that was even tougher on pensioners among others, and that Abbott "briefed" Rupert Murdoch instead of consulting his party room before announcing his "captain's call" paid parental leave scheme in 2010.