Peter Howard Costello (born 14 August 1957) is an Australian politician. He has been Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party since 1994, and Treasurer of Australia since 1996, making him the longest serving treasurer in Australian history.

Costello was born in Melbourne into a middle-class family of practising Christians.[1] He was the second of three children: his elder brother, Tim Costello, is a prominent Baptist minister and current CEO of World Vision Australia. Costello was educated at Carey Baptist Grammar School and attended Melbourne’s Monash University, where he graduated in arts and law.[2]

During the 1980s, Costello was a solicitor at law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques,[3] then became a barrister and represented employers in some of Australia’s best known industrial relations disputes.[3]

In 1983 and 1984, Costello represented the National Farmers’ Federation in a case against the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU). The AMIEU was seeking a unit tally system to be set up in abattoirs in the Northern Territory. The dispute focussed on one abattoir Mudginberri which chose to fight the AMIEU claim. Ultimately the AMIEU claim was unsuccessful.

Costello became counsel to organisations representing small business and rose to prominence in the 1985 Dollar Sweets case, as junior counsel assisting Alan Goldberg QC, successfully representing a confectionery company involved in a bitter industrial dispute.[4][5]

Costello expected to gain the Liberal leadership some time during Howard’s second term as Prime Minister, per Howard’s alleged December 1994 offer.[8] When this did not eventuate, he showed signs of frustration and was visibly disappointed when Howard announced, in July 2003, his intention to lead the government into the 2004 election.

During the 2004 election campaign, Howard avoided saying whether he would serve a full term if re-elected, saying only he would remain as long as his party supported him. The government’s subsequent success in winning control of the Senate raised further speculation that Howard would delay his retirement, and the prospect of a Costello leadership succession appeared to recede.

In July 2006, the alleged Costello/Howard succession deal of the 1994 deal was made public by McLachlan. Costello soon after confirmed the incident occurred and that he shared McLachlan’s interpretation of events.[13] Howard denied the claims repeatedly, stating the continued public drama displayed “hubris and arrogance” and that the leadership was the party room’s to decide, not a prize to be handed over by leaders to successors.[14]

Press Gallery columnist Michelle Grattan described Costello’s actions :

Costello doesn’t have the numbers to blast John Howard out. But he does have the dirt to make him look bad, and he’s throwing it. He’s attacking the PM’s integrity and honesty, painting him as a man who offered an undertaking - without being asked - and then welshed on it. Mr Howard is left with just repeating that there wasn’t a deal to give over the leadership.[15]

Despite tensions between the Prime Minister and the Treasurer, nothing further came of those events. Neither Howard nor Costello took any action to remove the other from office or resign. However, on 12 September 2007, amid renewed leadership tensions and a series of unfavourable public polls, Howard confirmed he would step aside well into the next term, if re-elected, and that Costello would be his “logical successor”.[16]

The Hon. Peter Costello MP Treasurer and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party Parliamentary Service Peter Costello was first elected a Member of the House of Representatives for the seat of Higgins in 1990.

He was elected Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia in May 1994.

He has been the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia since March 1996.

Peter Costello has brought down twelve consecutive Federal Budgets, including ten surpluses. During this period he eliminated the Commonwealth Government net debt of $96 billion.

Peter Costello introduced the largest tax reform in Australian history, under the policy, endorsed at the 1998 election, A New Tax System.

Financial supervision has been re-designed arising from the Financial Systems Inquiry. Corporations law has been reformed and modernised under the CLERP program. The largest reform of superannuation has been introduced with the abolition of tax on superannuation payouts for those over 60. The Future Fund has been established currently holding around $60 billion in assets. The Higher Education Endowment Fund has been designed as a perpetual fund for the Australian University sector with an initial contribution of $6 billion. The Health and Medical Investment Fund has been established to fund new capital medical facilities, with an initial contribution of $2.5 billion. Peter Costello has been a Chair of the OECD Ministerial, the APEC Finance Ministers, and the G20, the group of countries systemically important to the International Financial System.

He is on the International 24 member committee of the IMF. He is a Governor of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Other Peter is married to Tanya and they have three children.

Peter holds degrees from Monash University where he was, for a time, a part-time teacher in law and economics/politics, as well as a member of the University Council. Prior to entering Parliament, he was a barrister. He was counsel in some of Australia’s best-known industrial disputes and was a regular advocate in National Wage cases.

Peter Costello describes his favourite activity as cooking on the barbeque at home (badly) and following his beloved football team (passionately).

Title: Treasurer. Party: Liberal Party of Australia

Parliament House Contact PO Box 6022 House of Representatives Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Tel: (02) 6277 7340 Fax: (02) 6273 3420

Electorate Office Contact Malvern Office: Location/Postal Address: Suite 1 1343 Malvern Road Malvern Vic 3144

Tel: (03) 9822 4422 Fax: (03) 9822 0319

Melbourne Office: Location/Postal Address: 4 Treasury Place Melbourne Vic 3002

Tel: (03) 9650 0244 Fax: (03) 9650 0242

Parliamentary Service Elected to the House of Representatives for Higgins, Victoria, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2004.

Ministerial Appointments Treasurer from 11.3.96.

Committee Service House of Representatives Standing: Privileges from 16.5.90 to 8.2.93; Legal and Constitutional Affairs from 16.5.90 to 14.9.92.

House of Representatives Select: Print Media from 22.8.91 to 25.3.92.

Conferences, Delegations and Visits Official visits to Malaysia, November 1995; Japan, March 1996; France, Germany and UK, May 1996; USA, September-October 1996; Philippines, April 1997; Malaysia, China and Hong Kong, September 1997; Singapore and Malaysia, November-December 1997; USA, April 1998; Canada and USA, May 1998; USA, April 1999; Malaysia and Hong Kong, May 1999; Papua New Guinea, July 1999; USA, Ireland and UK, September-October 1999; Germany and France, December 1999; France, June 2000; Indonesia and Brunei, September 2000; USA and Canada, October 2000; USA, April-May 2001; China, September 2001; Canada, November 2001; Vanuatu, July 2002; Mexico, September 2002; UK and USA, September 2002; India, September 2002; New Zealand, February 2003; Turkey and France, April-May 2003; Thailand, September 2003; Israel, the Palestinian Authorities and Dubai, September 2003; Mexico, October 2003.

Parliamentary Delegate to the Australian Constitutional Convention, Canberra, February 1998.

Parliamentary Party Positions Deputy Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party from 23.5.94.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 23.5.94 to 11.3.96.

Member, Opposition Shadow Ministry from 11.4.90 to 11.3.96. Shadow Minister for Corporate Law Reform and Consumer Affairs from 11.4.90 to 23.5.92; Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister for Justice from 23.5.92 to 7.4.93; Shadow Minister for Finance from 7.4.93 to 26.5.94; Shadow Treasurer from 26.5.94 to 11.3.96.

Chair, Public Administration Group from 23.5.92 to 7.4.93.

Party Positions State Executive, Young Liberal Movement (Vic) 1980-81.

Vice-Chair, East Metropolitan Area Conference (Vic).

Chair, Constitutional Committee (Vic) 1987-90.

Personal Born 14.8.1957, Melbourne, Vic.


Qualifications and Occupation before entering Federal Parliament BA, LLB (Hons) (Monash).


Tutor in Law, Economics and Politics faculties, Monash University.

Publications Arbitration in Contempt, Melbourne: Mercury-Walch, 1986.


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