It's over. They're finally gone. :)
We still have to see how the Senate works out; it's possible the ALP may face a hostile Senate. But i'm hoping on a few Greens senators taking the balance of power, like the Democrats ten years ago.
Moving on; there's going to be a lot of discussion over the next week about Howard's legacy, and, i predict, we'll hear a lot of people complimenting his skills as a leader - before that happens, I'd like to pre-empt the funereal praise of the Howard government by suggesting that maybe there should be more to being a good politician than being canny, sneaky and totalising. And maybe the phrase "strong leader" should be dissected for what it really means.
To start with, Howard's reign has been characterised by lies. These fell into three categories; lies about his party's policies, lies about current events, and propaganda intended to dumb down political debate and lower the level of intelligent discussion of policy.
( Lies about Liberal Party policyCollapse )
( Cover-ups and lies about current eventsCollapse )
( Propaganda and the Dumbing Down of Honest DebateCollapse )
And then we come to the things that they were honest about... these are the most important points to be aware of for the future, particularly for the next election, because these are the core actions of the Liberal Party; you can't claim they're just idiosyncrasies of the Howard Government. These are the things we'll need to remind people of in four years time:
( The racism, the incompetence, the bad laws, the bad policies, and the nightmarishly terrible ideas...Collapse )
I'm very happy to be saying goodbye to one of the most incompetent circles of Ministers we've ever had. I think it's pretty reasonable to consider John Howard to have been the worst Prime Minister in Australian history.
We certainly have lived in interesting times. In general, the Liberal Party worked hard to make this country a crueller and more expensive place to live - and they used lies and manipulation of the public debate to do it, even lying about their own beliefs and goals. They've done a lot of damage. I only hope the ALP has the political will to reverse most of what's happened, and move forward with a more progressive agenda.
I guess a lot of that will depend on the outcome of the Senate election. Will it be a hostile Coalition Senate, an ALP Senate, or one with the Greens holding a balance of power? Fingers crossed for the latter.