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.