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Old 02-12-2004, 06:59 AM   #1
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Howard Vs Latham

It is my humble view, that previously Labor has never had a really strong leader. Beasley never said much, and never seemed a threat. And it turns out he wasn't. Latham seems to be strong, but it's empty. His most noted promise these days seems to be the superannuation garbage which is nice and fine for getting the sensationalist support, "Boo to the overweight payouts they all get" but really, what is he going to do for Australia? Not that this really matters now as (I thought) Howard has now followed suit on all new MP's as of today.


Still, going to be interesting, either way.
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Old 02-12-2004, 07:08 AM   #2
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Well firstly, I have no particular stake in the Labor party. They have, in my view, been a bitter disappointment. However it's going to be interesting this year because Howard's time is drawing to a close (that's not a slur, it just seems apparent to me. He's been awfully lucky, but the tide does turn eventually. I think he's overreaching, as powerful men always do. Don't know when to go...).

Why on earth would Howard make a sudden move on MPs' superannuation when a week ago it was a total 'non issue' to him?

I'm not sure Latham is so useless, it's very early days yet. Some of the proposals he's floated strike me as silly, some of them strike me as sensible. Really at this stage it's all politics-as-theatre.

But this not being a presidential system, you should look at a potential Labor government in total. It won't just be Latham at the helm.

Anyway, I'm not really sure what this thread is asking for... I'm certainly not going to come out cheering for Mark Latham, because I know a bit of his ideological background and I don't like it at all (Third Way drivel, Institute of Public Affairs etc). I'm willing to believe he is open to change. If he runs for office on nothing more ambitious than a clear plan for our public health and education systems, he will interest me. The current government do not appear to even care about these things.

Security is a non-issue. This is not the USA. Does anyone seriously think the political complexion of the government makes any difference? No sane mainstream government would be blind to the need for vigilance (alert but not alarmed, as they say).
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Old 02-12-2004, 07:12 AM   #3
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Also Angie, I don't want to be a smartarse as I'm sure you don't REALLY mean that the ALP has NEVER had a really strong leader. John Curtin, Ben Chifley, Gough Whitlam and Bill Hayden spring to mind.

Beazley talked big but he just wanted to be loved. He made the fatal mistake of thinking that Labor could quietly slip into office. To his credit, he was only slightly wrong (1998 and 2001 were both far from landslide elections. In fact they were very close, in terms of respective percentages of the vote).
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Old 02-12-2004, 07:40 AM   #4
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This thread had no real purpose except musing I guess. It is too early. I am interested though to see how they set up the next few months. At least one thing can be certain and Latham's early noise is better than Beazley's quiet and Crean's...well, whatever the hell it was Crean did while leading them. By strong leaders, I guess I might in our life time. Whitlam would have been something else to witness lol. Currently, both parties have a lot of work ahead. I still remember the few very bad things to come out of our last labor party, like the interest rates. There's no saying it will happen again, but it has been more stable under Howard. Complacency is not good though. That's one thing that does go in Howard's favour is longevity. Costello better start talking if he wants the job - and you are right, Howard should look at ending it.
I guess if we look at the major issues, one by one, both have pros and cons and it is too early to say just yet. It's big in the news at the moment, so I guess my interest is piqued.
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Old 02-12-2004, 07:43 AM   #5
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It's a tough one.

Big, big picture wise... I don't want to see Howard in again. I think you'll see an incredibly arrogant government. I mean, they already are, especially during the Crean stage, but to win ANOTHER term, they'll feel absolutely bullet proof. That's not good. Especially if Latham bombs it and they win by a large amount (if he just keeps it together, or does well, I think this will be extremely tight).

On the other side, I don't know about Latham, and in a few areas I don't know about Labor. The main area where the Liberals have them is the economy. Can't deny that they right a tight ship there.

The other problem I have is the electorate I live in. Am I putting in a vote for my local member, or am I putting in a vote for the government I want in. I live on the North Shore of Sydney. The 3 electorates here are safe as houses Liberal (mine is Brendan Nielson, immediately to my east is Tony Abbott, immediately to my west is Howard). I think I read somewhere during a previous election that my electorate is above 90% Liberal, and one of the 2 or 3 safest seats in the entire country. Because of this, the local Labor 'canditate' is never someone actually from here, or someone who seriously cares, or even really bothers to campaign or anything. They are usually young people with no experience, and that's why they stick them here. Give them a bit of election experience for a possible bigger future. A local vote therefore has to be Liberal, a national vote though and I don't know...

Anyway, I'm dead tired, I'll put in my more detailed thoughts on the two tomorrow....
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Old 02-12-2004, 07:55 AM   #6
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I think the whole 'economy' thing is a bit of a furphy, along with 'tough on security' and 'not being browbeaten by minorities'.

Simply, it's intellectually dishonest for any government to claim credit for the great economy. They have levers to work with, but they are mainly influencing it around the edges. John Howard didn't create our economy, and the strength of things is as much a product of policies undertaken in the 1980s as anything recent. I see no reason to think Labor would be radically different, economically, at this stage.

Also, in a blinding flash of genius it occured to me a few years ago that there is no such thing as wasteful government spending, as long as it plays out in the country of origin. Think about it: all those dole bludgers you love to despise? They're buying stuff at shops, helping small (and big) businesses make a living. That is a comfort to me. My hard-earned tax dollars are paying for other people's existence, as it should be in a commonwealth. And when I go to the wall (and I will), I expect the same in return.
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Old 02-12-2004, 05:24 PM   #7
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Good thread. One thing that really amazes me (and I hope that this is still true) is how it is that for the past few years all states have had labor leaders, but at a federal levle we have a liberal government. So obviously at the state levle the Labor party are pulling in the votes, however why is it that at the national levle they just dont do it, my only guess as to why this is, is that they have not had a strong leader in some years. I really hope that this years federal election dosn't turn out like our recent state election(although I was happy with the result, it is just a good comparisson) I read many coments in newspapers and the like that Lawrence Springborg (leader of the opposition) probably didn't have much of a chance due to him only being newly appointed as leader and the Labor government used this as a scare tactic in their tv advertising during the campaign, I think it went something like "how can a party with 5 leaders in the past 3 years run a good government!"


So I guess is this what is going to happen at the national levle this year? I dont know much about Mark Lathan, he seems alright but I guess I do know what I dont like and that is definately John Howard and the Liberal party. I do believe that if they get in again that they will be extrememly cocky and 'bullet proof' is a great metaphor.

One thing that always amazes me is when people make the point that the libs are great with the economy and balancing the books. I agree that many of the factors that have enabled them t have better 'books' in the 90s and 00s were founded in the 80s. And I hate it how the libs use this as a draw card in elections. I remember at the last election being disgusted in friends of mine, whom I thought were like me and were appalled by the actions of the libs, however becuase they were good at balancing the books, well that out weighed everything. I dont understand how a strong economy can be a driving force for ones vote, when the same government were turning away refugees, sending us to war, ass licking america, making social welfare harder for those who need it my list could go on and on........

I do hope that Latham gets ballsier and gets tough, maybe even adopt a bit of a 'character trait' instead of being wooden, like many of the other recent Labor leaders, remember Paul Keating's take over of the leadership from Bob Hawke??. I dont want to get into a whole debate about the merits of Paul Keating, but I guess that those actions prooved him to be a tough individual. I dont really like the libs, I would love to see Bob Brown as leader, but we all know that this isn't going to happen, however I guess the labor guys are the better of the two major parties and I hope that when the next election comes around that people dont forget the following, to name just a few.....

the tampa
treatment of refugees and asylum seekers
the regional forestry agreement
going to war in Iraq
the numerous changes to university funding and increases in HECS- why o why should we be making it harder for those to study, tertiary education should not be a wealth or status dictated privlege

oh and to end on what I believe to be Mr Howard's most recent 'trump card', his remark about public schools giving students a too politically correct education!!!! Yes Mr Howard, we wouldn't want the youth of the nation being well informed and objective individuals.......
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Old 02-12-2004, 06:39 PM   #8
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I guess it all depends on demographic doesn't it though. What matters to me, might be so much of an issue for say an 18 year old just out of school. Tertiary eduscation for example, will interest me again in the next 10 years, but currently, it probably disgusts some people to hear me say HECS is still a fantastic system and a hell of a lot better than many places. However, we are not many places and what matters is here only. In a bigger picture sense, is an increase in HECS a really big deal? To gain an undergrad degree in this country is going to cost some money. There's not avoiding it. I think education should be free, but it can't be. Like I think unemployment should be at 0%, but it just isn't.
Howard has done many things to piss me off over the years, I still reckon the introduction of the GST was a load of balls. His gung-ho speed in sending our troops to where ever Bush whines is necessary and so on. What is good though is work for the dole for long term bums (problem is identifying who is in need and who is a bludger). The whole Tampa crisis and refugee situation...I support their being not allowed automatic entry. They are entering our country illegally. I do not support the long term incaceration of up to 2 years and more in some situations. I honestly believe the problem lies way earlier in the process, long before these people arrive on their leaky boats. We have an immigration issue. There shouldn't be an asylum problem in this country. There is a need and we have a limited supply, surely the better place to start fixing this is to go back to where it all begins to things like application criteria, demand (number of applicants each year), resources (number we allow in per year), the bond system (does this discriminate against those very same people who are applying for asylum? They're not likely to afford the $10,000 bond to come here legally) and so on. The root of the problem is not with Howard denying these people entry. The outcome currently of being denied entry, by long term incarceration is not ideal, but we need to go back further to fix this. On a side note, just yesterday I looked at a website for employment in Sydney's Villawood detention centre. The staff conditions are absolutely appalling. It is a private contract as well, not even government managed. I mean, it is to an extent, but you get the point.

On your last point Oz, I agree with him to a point, that PC is going too far. Howard has expressed this view on occasion in the past, and while this comment may be a little extreme, there is such a thing as being too Politcally Correct. I reckon, anyway.
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Old 02-12-2004, 08:03 PM   #9
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PC might have been a cute talking point in 1995, but come on, John Howard has had nearly a decade to expunge the dreaded Politically Correct Culture. At this point, I'm over it. And him.

Also, I don't think there is much connection between state and federal electoral voting. I think many of the Beattie Laborites would happily vote Coalition at the federal level, in fact. Beattie is in the Queensland Labor tradition... big development, progress and a smattering of inclusive rhetoric. Really, Beattie is shaping up to be the new Joh (ie. almost impossible to dislodge, though thankfully more legal).

Can't speak for results in other states, but I do have a suspicion that the issues at State level favour Labor. Federally they are so close, it would only take a hard-hitting behemoth of a leader to carry the day.
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Old 02-13-2004, 09:10 PM   #10
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my fist federal election coming up....Go latham....


Ever heard of a democratic dictator, a bit of a contradiction. but howard fits the discription!

Im sick of being the 52nd state of the us, so im happy to finally give my view

Maybe Latham will bring honesty and independence back into australian politics, and bring back the traditional aussie values whcih have disintigrated since 96.


And LAtham seems more capable, rather than that uninspiring beazley and passive crean.

I think that Labour can do it come July? or November? or whenever, and about time to, i've been feeling insecure since september 11 and howards wayward politics since the Iraqi war last year.
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Old 02-15-2004, 04:53 PM   #11
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Angela- I agree with you that Tertiary education should be paid for, I do believe in the HECS and PELS schemes, however not at the levle that they are at. Although I must say that it does make me angry when I talk to people who have great jobs and no hecs debts as they were lucky enough to be studying in the years that Whitlam was in power and here I am with a $30 000 HECS debt and an increasingly harder environment to find decent employment. Anyway this dosnt make me bitter, I agree with paying for my tertiary education, however I would prefer if it were more in line with say the price of TAFE education, to be paying $10 000 for an Arts degree is ludicrous, which is what I have done, science and medicine, maybe I could understand as they use and require more and specialist facilities etc. However what I am against is the way that the recent government have reduced tertiary funding, therefore we are seeing more and more universities giving their limited places to international students who sometimes have to pay up to three times as much as a local student and they have to pay up front. Now I am not racist in my views here, however I just think that it is unfair that local, Australian students are either being denied a place at uni or are finding themselves being forced with a life of mega debt. I just feel that Howard is doing all he can to make many aspects of our society more and more like America and turning us into a class divided society.

And this isn't just happening at the tertiary levle, but what about the funding that happens at the primary and secondary school levle. Giving more funding to private schools than state schools, when most private schools already have an extremely high arsenal of dosh from the big fees that are paid by each student, well this just seems unfair to me and I would love to know the governments justification for this- hmmmm no wonder most private schools can afford to have their own 25m swimming pools!!!!!!! I spent 10 years of my schooling at Catholic schools and absolutely hated the religious rhetoric that was entrenched in my schooling and by year 10 I was appalled at the snobbiness of the students and parents, now I know that this is not the case of all private schools, however I found my time at a state high school for senior to be amazing and I was given a great education and I never remember anything being too politically correct. But maybe it is just me, but I would rather political correctness than religious, hypocritical tripe, but then again I do realise that this is extrememly subjective...


I cant stand Howard, and I agree in social equity and that all should be given equal opportunities in our country and when it comes to the refugees, I often hear people talking about the idea that there should be more time spent on the circumstances at the other end, just as you said Amanda, the 'bond system' etc, but what I find to be the problem is that many of these people have no access to even be made aware of these systems and processes, especially when these countries like Afganistan and Iraq dont have 'queues' or embassies where people are willingly helping such people and yet does the government ever make reference to the thousands of tourists who over stay their visas, of course not, because they are not as easy to see, as they look like white anglo celtic Aussies......


Sorry, but I find Howard to be extremely racist, I hate his policies and distrust him imensely and I also cant stand numerous things that he has either done or not done (saying 'sorry') during his terms as leader, in a metaphoric levle I would almost be ready to renounce myself as an Australian if he gets in again. Another three years of him and being appaled and sad over his policies and actions, I dont want to see that
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Old 02-15-2004, 05:27 PM   #12
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I agree with the education comments. I believe the HECS rates are too high. I also believe that theres not enough funding for Universities (I work for one). There was something like 6000 kids couldnt get into Uni this year in WA because there wasnt enough places. They have jacked up the entrance scores so high in WA (the highest in the country) that now you have to be very smart indeed just to get into a less intellectual course. Thats got to be disappointing for the students.

Latham, I dont know much about. Beasley lives in the area that I work in so I used to bump into him at the bakery and on a personal level he was a really nice friendly guy.

Howard, has had his day. I dont think its healthy for one person to be in for so long.

For the record I have voted Democrats or Greens (depending on what we have in my electorate at the time) for over the past decade.

I just hope that the election is a clean fight - no slander, no muck racking - just the facts jack. Then I might consider voting for one of the big two.
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Old 02-15-2004, 05:41 PM   #13
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Just wanted to say I've found it really interesting reading the posts in this thread - it's nice to read discussions about something other than American politics!

I find it interesting how many political issues that have been mentioned here are relevant where I live (UK) also. Obviously the stuff about Iraq is relevant in most countries, but it's interesting to see stuff about higher education and asylum seekers/refugees discussed because those are two of the big issues here too.

We've just had a bill passed which will mean that students have to pay 3000 a year fees for their degrees, in addition to the huge debt they end up with because of the student loans they take out to pay for accomodation, etc. There's been so much debate about it because of the fact that it will mean that students from less well-off families are going to be priced out of going to university. IMO it's completely unfair because access to education should be based only on ability to study and not on ability to pay.

Refugees...there's been a lot of controversy over Blair's "I'm going to cut the number of refugees entering the country by 50%" rhetoric. And as for the idea of having "quotas" of how many refugees can be accepted from a country...how ridiculous! Are you going to say to someone "I'm sorry, you can't have asylum because your from Sierra Leone and we've already had our quota of people from that country, so while we accept that you're probably being persecuted, you're just going to have to be sent back."

I'll stop rambling now, just thought it was interesting to see how many political issues different countries have in common.
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Old 02-15-2004, 06:07 PM   #14
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i would vote against Howard

if i could
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Old 02-15-2004, 06:36 PM   #15
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You know what really gets my goat about Howard's 'public schools are politically correct/people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps/pay for your education' mantra? This man, along with many of his generation, has enjoyed a long career (and before that, education) which would have been impossible without government or scholarship assistance. He went to a public school, and university. He has been a parliamentary MP for decades.

I have zero respect for anyone of that 50s/60s generation telling us to work harder or be more competitive. They are the luckiest generation ever, and they don't even know it.
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