James Packer ruins Peter Costello’s birthday bash with allegations about ‘secret $300k lobbying’

It has been claimed by James Packer that Peter Costello was secretly paid $300,000 by him or on his behalf to lobby Victoria’s gaming minister, and seemingly failed to deliver.

Peter Costello (Image: Supplied)

Peter Costello’s celebration of his 65th birthday on Sunday was barely over when The Australian today published an embarrassing story on its front page, revealing James Packer’s claim that he paid Costello $300,000 in 2011 to try and lobby his friend and former staffer Michael O’Brien, the then Victorian gaming minister.

While Costello is yet to comment and the claim is unconfirmed, the story is embarrassing on a number of fronts, one of which being Peter is the younger brother of Australia’s longest-serving gambling reform campaigner, Tim Costello.

The churchgoing former federal treasurer used to paint himself as being anti-gambling, having agreed to establish the first of two productivity commission inquiries into the gambling industry in 1999 while serving as Australia’s longest-serving treasurer. Indeed, in his Higgins victory speech after the Coalition’s 2007 election, he said the following:

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