Sad news out of Australia

I was very sad to read that Australian Prime Minister John Howard lost the election, especially because Australians turned Left to defeat him. I wonder just how long they’ll be happy with new PM Rudd’s plans to mess with Australia’s economy (which will inevitably happen with Labor in power), an economy that even CCN admits is a “strong economy that has produced more than a decade of growth and record low levels of unemployment.”

Right now, considering how effective the Surge is, the least unsettling change Rudd is planning on making is withdrawing Australian troops from Iraq by mi-2008. By that time, Australia won’t be a rat leaving a sinking ship; it will be a rat leaving (one hopes) a thriving ship. Additionally, since Australia’s contribution only numbers 550 troops (bless them), its contribution is more in the morale, than the practical, direction.

Rudd is also planning on ratifying the Kyoto accord which, I’ll remind you, even Clinton wouldn’t ratify — it’s that useless. So apparently Australians are happy to go for grandstanding and showboating in the face of actually effective political leadership.

Still, Howard was in office for a long, long time (12 years to be precise), and there is no doubt that, when nations are not in crisis, they like a change. The school of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” somehow doesn’t apply. After 12 years of same old, same old, no matter how successful it’s been, people want something new and different. Also, to the extent that even the best government can’t fix all problems, there is always the hope — usually false — that the new government will leave what’s good in place, while fixing what was bad. I say “usually false” because, if it’s a Labor new government, it won’t be able to resist fixing everything, an approach that will result in, at best, an outcome as mixed as the old government’s results.

UPDATE:  When I was trying to get some background information about new Australian PM Rudd, I had a very hard time.  The Australian press was very impenetrable to me, both because I don’t have a deep understanding of the current Australian political system or of the specific issues the voters faced, and because the Press didn’t actually say anything.  Everything was conclusory; there were very few details.  Apparently that wasn’t just me doing poor research.  A Queensland woman (and a self-professed conservative) has written a long letter to American Thinker explaining that their media is much like ours, and that, while reporters glossed over any differences Rudd’s election would bring, these differences are, in fact, many and significant.


9 Responses

  1. […] [Discuss this article with Bookworm over at Bookworm Room…] Share Article Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, Australia    Sphere: Related Content Trackback URL […]

  2. Australia, because they have a parliamentary system, cannot independently elect their Prime Minister. If they want the PM to stay as is, they have to re-elect his party in enough districts so that the PM’s party can hold a majority of MPs.

    So, even if people wanted to keep good old Howard because of the economy, it just wouldn’t work. Not when the natural impulse on the part of people is to vote themselves more benefits in an age of economic boom. And even if it isn’t, the Labour party will vote in more benefits for the people whether the people want them or not.

    As the drug dealer always says, first taste is free.

  3. Oh btw, the Left favors Parliamentary systems over the US system because the Left likes free will. Except, well, their version of free will is based upon only the elites having free will to decide what is best for folks. So instead of the people electing their executive leader, a bunch of political representatives get together to decide who gets the spoils of the party’s victory.

    This is prefered by people, you see.

    It is just too crude to have individuals decide who the best leader is based upon the merits of an actual leader, as opposed to a party’s platform of policies. They might actually vote non-Left if given a choice of strong authoritarian discipline along with social welfare benefits.

  4. So apparently Australians are happy to go for grandstanding and showboating in the face of actually effective political leadership.

    No, I just think the people of Australia have no other choice given the fact that they are prevented from protecting themselves by the government. They can only look towards government benefits and protection now, Book. They have been trained, so to speak. And given Howard’s revitalization of the economy, folks believe that the government can afford to protect and care for the citizens at large.

    A strong culture of individualism and independency would put paid to Leftism and socialism. However, that is very hard to do when the citizens of Australia are no longer allowed to protect themselves from thugs and criminals. If a criminal comes at you with his bare hands, and you beat him unconscious with a bat, you are the one that is going to get into legal trouble.

    It is that principle of “disproportionate force”, Book.

  5. I suspect that the drought may have given the climate change issue greater weight, even if only in a hedge your bets sense. I heard or read somewhere that Rudd was talking about sending more troops to Afghanistan. If that’s true, it’s great news.

    Don’t forget the problems caused by multiple parties, which necessitate strange coalitions in which single-issue or utopian parties can push through legislation not supported by the majority. The German Greens, who are now out of power and back in cloud cuckoo land, had a party conference this weekend. The voted for a minimum income standard and a new party logo. Guess which will be realized? Oh well, the graphic artists have to make a living.

  6. Sadly preferential voting keeps our government in a two party system, allowing for little choice, when you’re unsatisfied with the status quo, the grass is always greener and labour; the voting choice of students and unionists suddenly becomes an option for those who would normally sit on the fence or vote with what they know.

    I’m an Australian living in the UK and I’m honestly shocked at the bad feeling towards John Howard that is coming out of my country. People don’t take the time to read about party core policies and tend to be sucked in by sensationalism during the campaign and all too soon they forget what the labour party has done in their previous reigns of power.

    Change for the sake of change rarely bodes well and I hope the Australia that I return to is not lessened by this choice.

  7. Michael Ledeen’s blog at Pajamas Media has a short post on the election. He says that Rudd is planning to increase the Afghanistan contingent.

  8. […] [Discuss This Topic with Bookworm at Bookworm Room] Share Article Sphere: Related Content Trackback URL […]

  9. My work allows me to know things about politics and policy that most people dont want to know about. I voted for Labor and thank god that they got in. Howard used a loophole in our constitution to hijack the industrial relations system that he had no business being involved in – this has only been running a short time and is causing many problems. He actually trippled our foreign debt buying things like broken 2nd hand US military equipment. Our economy being strong has NOTHING to do with politics we have a boom/bust economy due to us being so reliant on mining exporting we have been in a boom due to increased global need for uranium and coal among other things. The boom is expected to be over by 2010 and Labor will need to change things dramatically if the economy is to buffer a mining bust at that time. Howard was in charge of our economy (Treasurer) during the last bust in early 80’s when interest rates were more than tripple what they are now. Was he mismanaging the economy or was it natural adjustments to our global market??

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