OPINION: Warren Truss looking likely to stay on
LIKE economists and weather forecasters, those predicting the imminent retirement of Warren Truss as Wide Bay MP and Deputy Prime Minister will turn out to be right - eventually.
But they have already been wrong quite a lot along the way.
Mr Truss remains the National Party's endorsed candidate for the federal Wide Bay electorate and his recent announcements on the Bruce Hwy, the Gympie Aquatic Centre and major projects in other parts of his electorate do not read like the words of someone about to give it all away.
Nor do election-ish advertisements in The Gympie Times telling us that Gympie and Cooloola region is "a great place to live and work."
We might note he is telling Maryborough and Hervey Bay residents the same things about their part of the world, in the Fraser Coast Chronicle.
Then there was his apparently enthusiastic participation in Australia Day celebrations at Noosa, a function described as a very "oi, oi oi" sort of affair, at the southern extreme of his electorate.
The populous Noosa area has been touted as being one reason why Mr Truss's replacement as our local MP should be someone from our end of the electorate.
Undoubtedly, retirement is an option available to him, and Mr Truss does admit that taking it easy does become more attractive as one acquires a bit of age.
But while he is still there, Mr Truss is clearly having a good time, getting even with Clive Palmer for telling him he and his party were a thing of the past which would be wiped out in the next federal election.
Now, as that election approaches, it is more Mr Palmer who looks like the man on the way out.
Mr Truss obviously enjoyed telling Mr Palmer he should step down, as he and his party shed popularity and Mr Palmer's business interests appear to be bleeding money and goodwill.
He has also been active in telling conservative sections of his party to accept the rise of Malcolm Turnbull and has promised Coalition MPs will take the outcome of a gay marriage plebiscite very seriously.
In some ways, he seems more active than ever in courting publicity and popularity.
And then there is Mr Truss's deputy and heir apparent, Barnaby Joyce, strongly supported by some, but nowhere near by all.
Many Nationals appear to have been urging Mr Truss to stay long enough for them to find someone other than Mr Joyce to replace him.
Viable competition for Mr Joyce now seems to be emerging in the form of MP Michael McCormack.