"I, Errr...Ahhh...Had A Dream"


Feeling a bit directionless lately? Never fear, our inestimable leader, John W. Howard, has presented his vision for the future of Australia in a speech to the Queensland Press Club. Titled "Australia Rising" (faster than the levels of the seas our land is girt by, we hope) , it's Howard's "sketch" of the world in 2020 - but only, of course, if Australia keeps on voting Liberal. You could read the full transcript, but let me save you some time with the general gist of the thing:

  • As with just about everything for Howard, putting the economy first is a "moral argument". Those morals including a promise to dismantle the welfare state as we know it. According to Howard, "One side – we in the Coalition – aims to build on what’s been achieved over the last decade... The other side wants to tear down this achievement...[which] will see Australia fall behind in the global economy, reducing our capacity to create jobs, to innovate, to care for the sick and the aged and to help those who need a leg up in today’s competitive world".
    So if Labor wins this year's election and Australia goes to hell in an esky, don't say you weren't warned.

  • "Climate change is a serious policy challenge and a major priority of the Government. At the same time, we know independent action by Australia will not materially affect our climate". Unlike the situation in Iraq, where a withdrawal of Australian troops would embolden the terrorists. I guess we should be flattered that they think so highly of us. Howard also says, "to say that climate change is the overwhelming moral challenge for this generation of Australians is misguided at best; misleading at worst." Well, I thought the overwhelming moral challenge for our generation was the threat of terrorism. But apparently now it's the Australian economy. Evidently a new generation has sprung up in the past few years, which is terrible news; I'm getting old even faster than I thought!

  • "I worry about the consequences for Australian families of Mr Rudd’s policy of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent from 1990 levels. I worry about the impact on jobs in places like Moranbah, Mackay and Gladstone." It's very sweet of Howard to put the jobs of miners ahead of the future of the planet. If only we'd had a Prime Minister of such compassion in the early Twentieth Century, then all those jobs in the Australian whaling industry could have been saved.

  • And as befits a politician facing terrible numbers in the polls, Howard has managed to throw in plenty of swipes at the Opposition: "the industrial relations system that Mr Rudd has promised to give us will bring back the worst excesses of centralised wage fixation"; "Mr Rudd has made his work choice. He has put union power ahead of workers’ jobs"; "Mr Rudd made much of discovering the link between education and the economy earlier this year...Yet he fails the basic test of economic literacy"; "Mr Rudd panders to the gesture politics of anti-capitalism..."

    If you follow Australian politics at all closely - and you probably haven't read this far if you don't, I know I'm starting to drift off - you've probably noticed that Kevin Rudd has largely refused to return John Howard's attacks. This is, I feel, a mistake, not to mention pretty disappointing. I can only imagine Rudd is afraid of offending the Howard battlers, not to mention the so-called "South Park Conservatives", the supposedly Howard-loving young adults who were the subject of a chapter in the book
    The Howard Factor. But in reality, neither group exists. The "battlers" have little personal affection for Howard; they are simply concerned with their own mortgages. (And HahHah! to them I say).

    As for the South Park Conservatives, I don't know who these people are. According to The Howard Factor, more than 50% of males aged 25-29 voted for the Coalition in the 2004 federal election. But I'm aged 25-29, and discuss politics with just about everyone, and the only male I know who voted Liberal in the 2004 election is a somewhat naive individual who believes every word Alan Jones says. Anyway, Rudd could safely start to call Howard a long-handled, flat-surfaced digging implement without losing any votes - he may even win some - and it would certainly make the lead up to the election a lot more interesting.

    For now though, I'll leave the last word to Howard:
    "As a Government, we’ve made decisions in the last 11 years that impact directly on the lives of Australians. No doubt we’ve made our mistakes. All governments do."

    But only a weak government says they're sorry.
  • It's My Special Day


    The big news of, well, last week (hey, I've been busy) was Libby Lenton getting married, wearing a lovely white...tent. This she did because she'd signed a deal with a women's magazine to sell the wedding photos for more money than I'll earn in the next two years, and she has to protect the magazine's exclusive, or the deal's off. More and more celebrites are doing this lately, requesting that guests sign confidentiality clauses and not take photos, sometimes even not informing them of the location for the vows until immediatley before the ceremony, all so they can flog the photos of their day of days to Women's Doh or No Idea for perusal in doctor's waiting rooms three years after the fact.

    And good luck to them say I. In fact, I think they don't go far enough. If I ever get married (and hey, in a world where Condileeza Rice thinks George W. Bush is a genius, anything is at least theoretically possible), I'm going to out do them all. I shall exchange wedding vows under a false name, or possibly even hire an actress to stand in for me. I'llave my face pixellated in all the wedding photos, be "beamed up, Scotty" to travel to my honeymoon, and deny ever after that any wedding ever took place.

    In fact, how do you know that's not what I'm doing already?

    Thanks For The Memories


    Well, the NSW state election has been run and won since I last posted. I've listened to a wide range of opinions on this - 'round where I live, politics is always a popular topic. Although considering I live in the inner west of Sydney, getting any non-left points of view was a bit diffcult (I managed, though!). Nonetheless, the general consensus seemed to be that the election didn't really matter, as the result was never in doubt; however sorry things are in NSW, the Iemma government is better than the possible alternatives.

    So I pass on the following story to you without further comment...

    Last Monday, feeling slightly bored at the end of a four-day weekend, I went to Circular Quay to catch the ferry to Darling Harbour. The pier was already pretty crowded, and got more and more so as 1:20pm passed, then 1:25pm, with no sign of the 1:15pm ferry. Finally at 1:35pm, a voice announced that the 1:15pm ferry was cancelled, and we'd all have to wait till 1:45pm.

    Of course, a cancelled ferry can happen to the best of systems occasionally (although Sydney ferries should really be trying harder right now - it's not like they've earned the most sterling of reputations lately). What is alarming is the tone of the announcements over the P.A. system - no apologies, no grace, barking orders at passengers to line up in an orderly fashion, stand back from barricades, etc.

    Those of us who've lived in NSW our whole lives are perfectly used to this, but what the hell must visitors from overseas think?!? A little courtesy wouldn't go astray.

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