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The Forum > Article Comments > Lessons from the past the Howard and Costello years > Comments

Lessons from the past the Howard and Costello years : Comments

By Alan Austin, published 6/9/2013

Outside Australia, the Howard years are actually widely regarded as dismally disappointing.

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Alan,

Yes, the Howard years were not perfect, as some commentators have pointed out.

But who is to say that Labor, should it have remained in power, would not have made similar decisions. for example, trends towards greater privatisation and a greater reliance on household debt had already begun, thus reflecting fewer policy options ahead.

Further, a meaner spirited Howard govt in times of relative boom would have found it hard to maintain popularity. As it was, it did reduce debt, an advantage passed on to the big-spending Labor.

But hey, I know these points would be lost on a biased and poor scholar like you, so I will stop now for fear of causing brain overload to yourself, the most biased person I have ever read
Posted by Chris Lewis, Friday, 6 September 2013 8:32:01 AM
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'morning Alan,

"Click"
Posted by spindoc, Friday, 6 September 2013 9:00:39 AM
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There is a fundamental fallacy attached to this article, courtesy of its subheading:

"Outside Australia, the Howard years are actually widely regarded as dismally disappointing."

No-one should know better than the author that "outside Australia", we are for all practical purposes politically invisible.

True, our current election campaign has attracted a modicum of attention overseas, but most of it (including The Economist) written in a vein of faint bemusement. Having just returned from a seven-week overseas trip, which (thank goodness) kept me away the bulk of the domestic electioneering coverage, I can attest to the fact that only expat Aussies have even the remotest interest in our political situation.

We are, I am afraid, functionally irrelevant to the US and Europe. If Europeans remember anything about the Howard years, it will be - after a suitable round of memory-jogging - his embarrassing display of puppetry with Bush and Blair over Iraq.

The only thing for which we are "widely regarded" is still, I'm afraid, that we have great beaches and sunshine. If you ask a London pub - or a fancy dinner party - to name a famous Australian, you will get Shane Warne, Rolf Harris and Dame Edna, possibly followed at the dinner table by Germaine Greer and Clive James.

If you ask in either environment for the name of an Australian politician you will rarely get a response - although some do remember Paul Keating very fondly, for his "come along grandma" hand on the Queen's waist.

Sorry, but this was a pretty poor peg upon which to hang such a highly partisan piece of party political posturing.
Posted by Pericles, Friday, 6 September 2013 9:18:18 AM
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Have to agree we are all but invisible overseas, when we are not a laughing stock. A friend has just returned from Russia - the only Australian news she saw was about the 'suppository' and 'Islam as a country'. Our newspapers are generally full of non-new dross (have a look at the New York Times online for a real 'news'paper).

I'd have to say the Howard years were a wasted opportunity. Think how much infrastructure could have been built instead of throwing money at the well off and further entrenching our sense of entitlement. And the ill-conceived first home owners grants which just ramped up house prices and ended up putting the money into the pockets of home sellers not home buyers. Remember FOI requests relating to the scheme being blocked by Peter Costello because it was not in the 'national (read his political) interest?
Posted by Candide, Friday, 6 September 2013 11:32:17 AM
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Hehe, as if we should take note of what people in France think. France is a great example of how Govts can stuff up good economies!
Posted by Yabby, Friday, 6 September 2013 1:59:38 PM
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(Seriously, Pericles? It couldn't have been pardon for Sorry, place for hang and particularly for highly, to produce a sentence that would have been the bestest 'p' spray ever? 'Props' as always;)
Posted by WmTrevor, Friday, 6 September 2013 2:25:42 PM
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