GOLD COAST BULLETIN Wednesday May 10, 1989
SOME young conservatives may find it hard to believe but there was once a time that John Howard was not well-liked by the Liberal Party.
But back in 1989 the parliamentary wing of the conservatives led a revolt against the Opposition Leader and removed him from the party’s top job in a move similar to Labor’s later Rudd-Gillard and Abbott-Turnbull wars.
Mr Howard was removed and replaced by one-time former leader Andrew Peacock as part of an intense period of bloodletting by the federal Coalition, which included the dumping of National Party leader Ian Sinclair and the removal of three Victorian MPs who lost pre-selection battles.
The clear-out of the sitting Victorian members led to the entry to parliament of future player Peter Costello.
The stunning bloodletting was felt on the Coast where incumbent McPherson MP Peter White slammed the move.
Mr White, a long-time supporter of Mr Howard, declared it would be difficult for the Coalition to win the 1990 election. He admitted he was not sure of his future on the opposition frontbench.
“I’m sure there will be changes,” he said. “I’m not feeling all that bright.”
Mr White’s fears were proved correct and despite a swing to the Coalition, Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke romped home and won his fourth election in a row.
However, Mr Hawke too would be gone within a few years after he was removed as prime minister by Paul Keating.
Mr White would leave parliament in 1990 and died in 2005.