Former Liberal Party prime minister John Howard.
Former Liberal Party prime minister John Howard. Barry Leddicoat

Beattie's return to politics won't boost Labor: Howard

FORMER Liberal Party prime minister John Howard says Peter Beattie's stunning return to politics will not give Labor the boost it hopes.

The biggest shock of the election campaign so far came on Thursday when Mr Beattie announced he was standing as Labor's candidate in the seat of Forde, south of Brisbane, which the LNP's Bert Van Manen holds by a slender margin of 1.6%.

Campaigning in the Central Coast seat of Dobell, held by controversial MP Craig Thomson, Mr Howard described Mr Beattie's comeback as "an interesting development".

"But I don't think it is going to give the Labor Party quite the advantage they imagined," Mr Howard said.

"People look at former leaders in a different light once they're gone and to be gone from the scene for six years you can't assume you can just pick up where you left off. It doesn't work that way."

Australia's second longest-serving PM also laughed off the suggestion he might one day return to politics Beattie-style.

"I've had my run. I was very well satisfied with the opportunities the Australian people gave me to serve them," he said.

"I'm a year or two older at least than Mr Beattie."


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