Learning English - Words in the News
20 July, 2007 - Published 12:24 GMT
New book reopens Australian leadership argument
In Australia an argument between the Prime Minister, John Howard, and the Treasurer Peter Costello is in the news. At the heart of the argument is a promise which Mr Howard allegedly gave to his deputy, that he would let him take over as Prime Minister after one and a half terms in office. He has now served almost four.
The row between John Howard and his powerful deputy, Peter Costello, has festered for years, with the Treasurer already publicly accusing the Prime Minister of reneging on a private agreement to step aside after one and a half terms in power.
Now the tensions in their relationship have burst into the open again, thanks to the publication of a new biography of the Australian prime minister.
In it, Mr Costello is outspokenly critical of his colleague's handling of the economy in a previous liberal government. He also bemoans the fact that neither he nor his wife, Tanya, have ever been invited for dinner at The Lodge or Kirribili House, the Prime Minister's official residences, during eleven years in office.
Now, in further published extracts from the book, the Prime Minister's wife Janette has entered the fray, arguing that there was never a deal. 'John wasn't into making firm commitments,' she says of her 68 year old husband.
With an election expected before the end of the year, and with the government already languishing in the polls, both men have tried hard to limit the political damage.
Mr Costello has played down his gripe about not being invited to dinner, saying he was just as happy eating fish and chips on the beach.
Nick Bryant, BBC, Sydney
reneged on a private argeeement
to step aside
bemoans the fact
has entered the fray
languishing in the polls
played down his gripe