Opinion: Hockey's disappointing demise
IT COULD have been so different for Joe Hockey.
For years the federal politician was tagged a prime minister in waiting, and there were times during the last Labor government that he could have grabbed the Opposition leader's mantle.
But in the end, Mr Hockey, like the man he worked closely with in the Howard years, Peter Costello, didn't seem to have the drive to take his party's top spot. Mr Hockey departed parliament yesterday at the end of a prominent career, but one that seems not to have achieved what it promised.
As he rose through the ranks under John Howard, Mr Hockey seemed on an inevitable trajectory towards the top.
But after Tony Abbott slipped past him to take the Liberal leadership in 2009, his career path began to seem less certain.
Then when the Coalition had won power in 2013, Mr Hockey had the prime role as treasurer but that proved to be his failing.
The 2014 Budget will go down in history as the beginning of the end for Tony Abbott's leadership - not just because of broken promises, but due to the poor salesmanship of the Prime Minister and his treasurer.
Both men would never recover their authority.