Much has been made, as it well should, of prime minister John Howard's years of claims that he would only stay in the top job of the Liberal Party as long as his party wanted him to stay, and as long as it was the best thing for his party.
Now we know that most of the senior ranks of the government wanted Howard to step down last week, for the good of the party, but he refused.
And now we know why. His wife, Janette Howard, didn't want to move out of Kirribilli House, where she has lived the very, very good life for more than ten years, all at the taxpayers' expense. And it's been very, very expensive. Millions worth of renovations, millions more for new furniture. Tens of millions of dollars spent hosting parties, cocktail parties, barbecues and get togethers. The wine bill alone runs into the thousands each and every month.
Of course John Howard denies point blank that his wife made him stay, so she could stay, but it's certainly no great secret that JanHow is the PM's top adviser, motivator and whip cracker.
Government sources yesterday said John Howard's wife was central to his decision to stay on to fight his Liberal Party critics, and the election.
"Mrs H is the key," a source said.
Last night Mr Howard denied his wife's advice was decisive.
"I think that's unfair to my wife, it's wrong," he told Nine's A Current Affair. However, there is a strongly held view within senior ranks of Government that her involvement was indeed pivotal.Government sources said it was Mrs Howard who over Friday and Saturday helped convince him to stay on.