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The Forum > Article Comments > Kevin's Choice? - a better Howard or a worse Blair > Comments

Kevin's Choice? - a better Howard or a worse Blair : Comments

By Reg Little, published 1/11/2007

Will Rudd prove as ineffective as Blair in managing and mitigating the pressures within the Anglo-American world?

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Insightful comparison between the known and unknown options.

But I suspect that since the Australian electorate seems to be strongly leaning towards a left of center government that Australia, under Rudd, with strong labor control will become much more transfixed on internal issues and mandates as most other leftist governments in the world.

This will probably mean resurrecting old tariffs and other impediments to trade as well as significantly improving the trade union control over the Australian workplace which will lead to a much diminished place in the world debates on anything meaningful - including Kyoto II. After all, how much attention is given Venezuela on the world stage?

But the end result may be what the ALP is after: a significantly reduced value of the Australian dollar which means imports are much more expensive. But, on the bright side, if our dollar becomes cheap enough major international firms will come here to have us make their sneakers thus saving, or even growing our manufacturing base.
Posted by Bruce, Thursday, 1 November 2007 8:54:05 AM
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A "left of center goverment under Rudd"?! Even the so-called current "conservative" governments of many European nations far more progressive than anything Rudd is likely to offer.
And the Greens must be completely radically left-wingers for wanting to propose things like...oh...I dunno, investing in masses of renewable energy to ensure we can all keep our modern convenient lifestyles, tougher sentences for drug dealers, pledging more money for pensioners, supporting private industries like tourism, wineries and housing developers in Tasmania...

Curious what you would consider a government that was offering genuinely "left-wing" options like re-nationalising natural monopolies (telecommunications networks, power generators, freeways etc.), decriminalising drugs, fully-subsidised tertiary education for all, etc. etc.? Irrespective of whether I believe these are good ideas, is it so unreasonable to expect that I might at least have the choice to vote that way?
Posted by wizofaus, Thursday, 1 November 2007 10:04:03 AM
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As much as I hate labels, politically we have shifted to the far right of politics under the Howard government. The Liberals cannot claim to be representing the interests of small business or ordinary Australians, they are seated purely in the camp of the big end of town and have bought into the myth of 'economic growth' and free trade (particularly the one-sided US/Aust FTA) - to the detriment of our own industries and agriculture and increasing international debt.

We can only hope that Labor does not follow suit and shows some independence of thought and vision that would seek, not to serve one particular interest group, but serve the community fairly and equitably across the board. While there is nothing inherently wrong with one Party agreeing with some of what the other Party does, I for one, am hoping not for a carbon copy of the Liberals, but a different option (and hopefully a more honest, democractic and transparent government).

As far as definitions go ie. leftist or rightist in context of the post referring to a 'left of centre government', there are always problems. As a child growing up most of our utilities and communications were publicly owned even under conservative governments. Now if you mention public ownership you are labelled as a red even if you are just a pale shade of pink. Definitions are, in the main, meaningless and are influenced in the context of what is the accepted norm. Under a fascist government, voting might be seen as 'leftist'.

So while labels might help describe a 'flavour' it does not complete the full picture and sometimes I think we get too tied up in 'left' or 'right' thinking and maybe should look more at what works, better infrastructure, what is fair and what sort of communities do we want?
Posted by pelican, Thursday, 1 November 2007 10:14:50 AM
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Looks like it is respectable language not always good policy that makes a popular PM?

Looking back on Mark Latham, maybe it was only the offensive language that had him pushed aside?

Latham was certainly right about Howard and Bush, but with language only fit for the shearing shed, as my wife always told our boys who swore in the house.

So where does the whole truth lie, with Lucky Johnnie Howard who unlike compatriot Blair, and with Rudd's too much - me too - could have Howard's Way in for another splurge, really sorting out our Schools of Humanities this time - like the Nazis only allowing the factuals that suit a ruler's own beliefs, leaving all the worrisome truesomes out, really favouring what we hear so too much lately on our OLO talkbacks, that it is mostly left-wing loonies who frequent the Schools of Humanities.

Could write much more because it has become a worry to one who spent his childhood in the wheatbelt watching plovers and wild turkeys in the paddocks on the way to school, with the mallee hens and fat-tailed dunnarts favouring the lowlands.

A worry because it is only in the Humanities where our young ones will learn such history, and a worry because those who are mostly concerned about such problems are the Greenies?

And finally a major personal worry because one has helped produce too many great grandkids, their parents the grandkids mostly more with too much a belief in Howard's Way?
Posted by bushbred, Thursday, 1 November 2007 12:49:10 PM
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A worthy commentary Reg.

Rudd is showing signs of doing what all Labor Governments do both internally and externally.

Internally where there's a problem; throw money at it. He's pledged to fix problems of bed shortages, elective surgery waiting lists and abysmal operation of emergeny departments in our hospitals by giving the states, who created the problem, more money. He hasn't said 'change the way you do things'. He's said fix it or I'll take them over and I'll run them ... and the unspoken part is 'the same as you do'.

With trade it's Labor's intent, as stated by Martian Fergusson, to run with multi-lateral agreements rather than unilateral negotiations. eg To push the Dohar round. Another Labor tradition.

In Foreign Affairs it's Labor's history to run with multi-lateralism, particularly in dealing with the world through the UN. I haven't seen suggestions in this area of Labor being different. The personal backing Rudd are the same as backed Hawke and Keating in this area ... with the exception of Jovial 'Jakarta' Kym.

In addition to these predilictions, on a personel level, Rudd exhibits the classic trait of immaturity. An inability to learn and change. I am contradicting a small but vital part of your contribution Reg, and I am somewhat surprised few people are prepared to analyize Rudd in such a manner. The classic symptom of such an inability to learn, change and grow is the display of the need for attribution of blame when things go wrong. And Rudd has exhibited this on a few glaring occassions recently. Such character traits only become more accentuated as one grows older... as does the opposite ...an acceptance of responsibility for ones actions and a sensitivity to initiate the processes that see an adult change so similar errors can be avoided. These traits are with people from childhood and without dramatic self-appraisal are difficult to change at say ... 50.

I opine Rudd hasn't the background, the personal, nor the character to alter the way Labor historically faces and deals, or more exactly avoids dealing, with our country or the world.
Posted by keith, Thursday, 1 November 2007 2:02:36 PM
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Thank you Mr Little for such a well crafted article, it is about time that someone, anyone, took Mr. Rudd to task for appearing to stand for nothing except his own Prime Ministerial ambitions.

We have already heard that Mr Rudd prides himself as a fiscal conservative in managing the economy but he didn't mention that he was a social conservative supporting Howard's interference in Aborigine affairs. He also didnít mention that he was an ecological conservative backing the wood chip plant in Tasmania, military conservative backing Australia's role in Afghanistan and Iraq only withdrawing our troops after consultation with our allies. And finally his support of Workplace legislation that he assures will continue as is for the next three years.

I have little doubt that Mr Rudd will be our next Prime Minister but I must admit unlike the vast majority of Australians I can't see one reason why
Posted by drooge, Friday, 2 November 2007 9:49:58 AM
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