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Howard’s Judgement Day

by Marquette Turner

in Real Estate Radar, Special Reports, Variety, View From The Bridge

I watched the ABC commentary last Saturday night completely in awe of the enormous 6.3 % national swing to the ALP. Not only had the ALP contained the damage in Western Australia but seat after seat had fallen in even safe Liberal electorates. Massive swings of over 14% were recorded in some seats and Maxine McKew looked like she had pulled off the unthinkable and beaten Howard in his own seat of Bennelong. All five seats in Tasmania fell to the ALP along with election winning gains in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Ministers had fallen and at that point we were still be told of the pending retirements of senior Coalition members like Mark Vaile and Peter Costello to name just two.

At 10.35pm Prime Minister Howard appeared with his family to concede defeat and in doing so ending an era Australian politics. His speech was delivered with enormous dignity and grace and he congratulated Prime Minister elect Rudd on a “very emphatic victory”. He also went on to accept full responsibility for the Coalition campaign and election defeat and also stressed that Australia was now “stronger, prouder and more prosperous” than it had been 11 ½ years prior. If that statement was true then why had so many Australians turned their back on the Coalition? If indeed the average family were so much better off why had they so resoundingly sacked the government?

There are a number of factors that I suggest were at play. Firstly Australians have developed a social conscience that now cannot be politically ignored. Issues like the environment, treatment of refugees, equal rights for gay and lesbian couples and the promised “Education Revolution” have hit a chord with voters to the extent that the economy has been considered as one factor rather than the main factor in determining government. The massive increase in the availability and access to information due to the internet has played its part in shaping this election result. Never before have the Australian people had such a massive amount of information so readily available to assist in making the enormous decision of electing our government. Never before has there been such scrutiny of a government’s performance.

At the end of 33 years in parliament, 15 as Leader of the Liberal Party and 11 ½ years as Prime Minister, John Howard has cemented his place in history as the second longest serving Prime Minister in Australia’s history. Australia’s 26th Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd has set a massive agenda for reform and was at work on Sunday morning speaking to other world leaders and instructing the new Labor Caucus to visit at least one government and one private school in their electorate before meeting in Canberra this Thursday. With Labor in government Federally and in all States and Territories we have never had a better chance of resolving issues where there has been little or no co-operation between Government at all levels. It is with enormous excitement that I thank Mr Howard for his contribution to our great nation and welcome the man who may well prove to be the best Prime Minister this country has ever seen.

Michael Marquette

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