Saturday, November 24, 2007

Defeat for the Right in Australia

Not only has John Howard lost the election in Australia, he's lost his own seat too. That takes some doing for a sitting Prime Minister. But let there be no doubt - Howard did a good job for his country. ConservativeHome has some excellent analysis HERE. I met John Howard in 1991 when I was doing some consultancy for the Australian Liberal Party on port reforms. I was very underwhelmed and was astonished when he became party leader. But he was obviously an easy man to underestimate. His failure was not knowing when to hand over the reins. I suspect it wouldn't have made a difference to the result, but it would probably have been less of a landslide.

Interestingly, Kevin Rudd could only defeat John Howard by nicking his policies. But this isn't the first time this has happened in Australia. Bob Hawke only won in the 1980s because he adopted many right of centre neo-liberal economic policies, which were then embedded by his successor Paul Keating. But as ever, the dark cloud on the economic horizon for Australia is that the trade unions will again flex their muscles. No Australian government has really successfully curbed their power, and most of Rudd's colleagues come from the trade unions.

17 comments:

Chuck Unsworth said...

Handing over the reigns. Yes indeed. Maybe that should read 'reins', then again maybe you're right.

Brown found that Blair 'handed over the reigns' all right, and I bet he's sorry now.

Anonymous said...

Only in Aus could a 'Kevin' become PM!

Anonymous said...

At one stage it was nearly a "Kim"

Howard said...

No doubt there will be many expert analysis from 10,000 miles away. Having lived through the election, I can tell you Howard never had a chance, and to be honest neither in his marginal seat too.

Howard in his 11 years had a weak opposition and continually played on peoples fears to get re-elected. Rudd did not put a foot wrong during the campaign and deserved his victory.

Iain, if Howard had gone a year ago (as he should have done) Labour's majority would have been larger, as Costello is not popular.

The only parallel with the UK is governments enjoying an economic boom after a long period in office can be defeated by an effective opposition with a strong leader.

The conditions in the UK will be different when the UK goes to the polls in 2 to 3 years.

It would be wrong for people in the UK to draw too many conclusions from Oz for our own politics.

One further thought. Blair got it right by going, Howard got it wrong my staying. After 11 year with strong leader and an effective opposition, it does not that much to win.

Phil said...

that fella that blogged from Howard's campaign on your site...can he go work for Cameron now and work similar magic? Please.

Chris Paul said...

Post reforms? Helping them with their decanters?

Adrian Windisch said...

Rudd didnt nick Howards policy of opposing the Kyoto Protocol, only Oz and the USA were outcasts. Also he is removing Ozzy soldiers from Iraq, good on him.

Bob of the South said...

you might take some comfort from the fact that for the last 35 years the Australian and UK election cycles almost match up but with the opposite parties, as it were, in power at any time time. By this rule there should be a change from Labour to Tory at the next general election.

How come then the UK Tory party looks more like a tired old third term government of has-beens than a fresh alternative ready for power?

tory boys never grow up said...

Another defeat for Ashcroft money, Lynton Crosby, and the ever more audible dog whistles. Well done Australia!

DIRTY EUROPEAN SOCIALIST View Blog said...

We win. You right wingers have, lost more territory You lose. Losers. Losers. Woo Hooo. Bad luck.

John said...

One look at Rudd's mouth and sickly grin tells you all you need to know. Poor old Oz is in for a right royal buggering now, oh yes.

Welcome back Des. I see you've taken on Winston Churchill's advice "magnanamity in victory". Well done.

I've posted a question or two for you on here but you seem unable to answer them. Shame. Keep it up though - you show the left up for what they are so deliciously.

Manfarang said...

John
Royal?I thought they were republicans.

Anonymous said...

So Australia has gone Labor just as Britain is about to take a lurch to the right. Well, that's their problem but I hope the Brits who fled to Oz to escape New Labour aren't going to come whining back, because I'm not sure we want them.

Anonymous said...

This is tragic, I am paying for my son to gain a degree in engineering with a view to escape the new labour mess in the uk and emigrate to Oz.

Anonymous said...

on reflection his Mum will be delighted to have him home in the forthcoming Conservative administration.

Jill, London, said...

Sad day for the Australian conservatives. I predict the Oz Labour Party will undo all of the good of the previous 11 years.

The only good news is all those immigrants John Howard wouldn't allow will probably flood in - and perhaps that will give this country a break!

Anonymous said...

A shocking way to treat a superb government and prime minister. Australia will rue this day.