Good Riddance To The Rodent  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

I'm glad to report that the Rodent has admitted defeat and his government has been swept away in a well deserved landslide defeat.

The little critter may even lose his own seat - only the second time a sitting PM has ever done so and unheard of in times of economic prosperity.

So I guess John Howard will go down in history as one of the great losers of Australian politics.

Paul Keating had a few words to say about a number of the deficiencies of the Rodent and his minions that didn't get much of a mention in my pre-election diatribe, so I'll let him describe the Howard legacy - "A Decade Of Moral Erosion".

The principal reason the public should take the opportunity to kill off the Howard Government has less to do with broken promises on interest rates or even its draconian Work Choices industrial laws, and everything to do with restoring a moral basis to our public life.

Without this, the nation has no standard to rely upon, no claim that can be believed, not even when the grave step of going to war is being considered. When truth is up for grabs, everything is up for grabs.

Cynicism and deceitfulness have been the defining characteristics of John Howard and his Government. They were even brazen enough to oversee the corruption of a United Nations welfare program. And when they were found out, not one of them accepted ministerial responsibility. Not Alexander Downer, not Mark Vaile and certainly not Howard. What they were doing was letting the cockies get their wheat sold through the AWB, while turning a blind eye to the AWB's unscrupulous behaviour - illegally funding a regime Howard was arguing was so bad it had to be changed by force.

Howard took us into the disastrous Gulf War on the back of two lies. One, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, capable of threatening the Middle East and Western Europe; the other, that Howard was judiciously weighing whether to commit Australian forces against an evolving situation. We now know he had committed our forces to the Americans all along.

If the Prime Minister cannot be believed, who in the political system is to be believed?

When Opposition leader in 1995, Howard told us he would restore trust in government, when at that time trust in government was not in question. He also told us he would make us more "relaxed and comfortable". Well, some relaxation and some comfort. These days, there are many parts of the world where Australians dare not go. Something new for all of us.

But bad as all this is, how much worse was it for Howard to begin the fracturing of his own community?

His tacit endorsement of Pauline Hanson's racism during his first government, his WASP-divined jihad against refugees; those wretched individuals who had enough faith in us to try and reach us in old tubs, while his wicked detention policy was presided over by that other psalm singer, Philip Ruddock. ...

During the 1996 election campaign, a number of people I regard well said to me "Oh, I think Howard will be all right"; meaning, while not progressive, he would not be reactionary or socially divisive, or opportunistically amoral.

Well Howard wasn't "all right". He has turned out to be the most divisive prime minister in our history. Not simply a conservative maintaining the status quo, but a militant reactionary bent upon turning the clock back. Turning it back against social inclusion, cooperation at the workplace, the alignment of our foreign policies towards Asia, providing a truthful and honourable basis for our reconciliation, accepting the notion that all prime ministers since Menzies had: Holt, Gorton, McMahon, Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke and me: that our ethnic diversity had made us better and stronger and the nation's leitmotif was tolerance. Howard has trodden those values into the ground.

He also trod on the reasonable constitutional progression to an Australian republic, even when the proposal I championed had everything about it that the Liberal Party could accept. A president appointed by both houses of Parliament; meaning by both major parties, while leaving the reserve powers with the new head of state as the Liberals had always wanted. The price of Howard conniving in its defeat probably means we will ultimately end up with an elected head of state, completely changing the representative nature of power and of the prime ministership and of the cabinet.

To compound Howard's transgressions, he has run dead on the continuing obligation of structural economic change, just like he did as treasurer in the 1970s.

He and Costello have simply made hay while the sun has shone from the great structural reforms introduced by the Hawke and Keating governments. Those changes: open financial and product markets, the new decentralised wages system of 1993, were married up with a trillion dollars in superannuation savings, to underwrite the country's prosperity and renew its economic base.

Howard's sole example of reform is his GST. The one he told us in 1996 he would not give us. A regressive tax on all spending regardless of income.

Nations get a chance to change course every now and then. When things become errant, a wise country adjusts its direction. It understands that it is being granted an appointment with history. On this coming Saturday, this country should take that opportunity by driving a stake through the dark heart of Howard's reactionary government.

6 comments

Baz   says 2:03 AM

brDing dong the witch is dead.

So now the real work begins. Congratulations Kevin. Here are the reigns of the nation. By the way, the American economy is about to implode, so the resources boom may well stop. Oh and peak oil happened last year, so we're probably going to be faced with some nasty stagflation and/or interest rates going crazy. Plus climate change is worse than we expected, and we're the worst of the worst. No pressure or anything.

$5 says that in three years time everybody hates his guts.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, indeed.

The most interesting and hopeful part of it, for me, is that it appears that the Coalition's lost its hold on the Senate, and Labor can with the Greens just scrape through - but they'll be reliant on the Greens.

Obviously, the deals will be made, otherwise Rudd won't be able to get much done. Of course, only the Territory Senators get in straight away, so unless that Greens one in the ACT gets in, none of this will matter until July - but I think that's actually good, since it'll give time for the Greens and Labor to make proper deals, and discuss plans rationally.

Labor is still unaware of peak fossil fuels, of course, but the Greens can enlighten them, and anyway they're aware of climate change and the logical responses are pretty much the same for both.

On the bad side (speaking purely selfishly), because the Coalition lost, that's goodbye to any porkbarreling in my electorate from The Smirk. Mind you, since he we weren't a marginal electorate, and since the Labor candidate was a useless idiot and no threat, we never got any anyway.

Anonymous   says 3:17 AM

Big Gav-
Congrats on pitching the Rodent. Is there any way you can help us eject the Chimp? I think we should take up a collection and give him a free ticket to visit The Hague.
dave in texas

Baz - King Kev may well end up getting the rough end of the pineapple depending on how events turn out - most of these scenarios are a bit hypothetical over a 3 year time frame. While I'm not a big Rudd fan I'm going to refrain from criticism for a while and see how they settle in over the next 12 months.

Kiashu - I'm hoping the Greens and Democrats (if any remain) will hold the balance of power - its always good to be able to make the government of the day accountable and the minor parties may be able to get some better policy outcomes regarding global warming and peak oil (and hopefully roll back some of Ruddock's deaths head laws too).

Dave - Personally I like Kucinich's impeachment idea for the Chimp. Other than that, his term will simply expire in 2008 and we'll just have to hope some Euro prosecutor manages to nab him if he ever leaves the US in future...

Anonymous   says 6:44 PM

If there is a "crash", for Rudds (and Labours) sake best it happens sooner rather later. But it will be interesting to see how events pan out... especially re climate change and coal and the union links to the ALP.

The Greens polled nearly 8% nationally and got 0 House of Reps seats, meanwhile The Nationals got 5% and received 10 seats! The quirks of distribution.

In the senate the greens will have 5 seats... but not until June/July next year.

I thought I read somewhere that Mr Chimp didn't have a passport until he became president... so that will probably lapse after he leaves office... so no trips OS?

I suspect Rudds Honey Moon period will be short.

It was a cathartic evenings TV.

SP

Cathartic indeed.

I'm not sure I'd blame the Greens vs Nats situation in the House Of Reps on dodgy seat boundaries - you'd struggle to define any seat boundary which resulted in the Greens having a majority vote. The Nats just have a geographically localised support base.

Vice versa in the Senate - the Greens have just enough support overall to win a seat in each state.

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