Coming Soon: The Howard Years

This is a YouTube video featuring an ABC television promotion for its forthcoming documentary series, The Howard Years.


Clare O’Neil: Howard’s Terrifying Lack Of Reflection

by Clare O’Neil

In March, John Howard visited Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where I am a Master of Public Policy student.

Howard began his visit with a formal address on Australia/China relations. About 250 Harvard students and staff assembled in the school’s famous John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum to listen.

O'NeilHoward reflected on his term as a period of deepening integration between Australia and China, evidenced by growing trade between the two countries. He framed the relationship in pragmatic terms, which drew a contrast to the familial bonds he described between Australia and the US. [Read more...]


Fidel Castro Does What John Howard Couldn’t!

Cuba’s President Fidel Castro has announced his resignation, after 48 years in power.

The Communist Party leader issued an extraordinary statement on the website of the party’s newspaper, Granma. [Read more...]


“Partially Treated Sewage Sandwich” From Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the Liberal PartyThe Federal Opposition’s Julie Bishop has given an extraordinary press conference in which she attempted to justify the coalition’s decision not to to oppose the government’s legislation abolishing WorkChoices.

  • Listen to Julie Bishop’s press conference:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

As the Sydney Morning Herald’s Annabel Crabb put it on February 20:

The Opposition’s Julie Bishop was on something quite different yesterday. Some sort of calmative, perhaps.

Ms Bishop has been vocal for months on the need to fight to the death for Australian Workplace Agreements.

And yesterday, for 30 minutes in the Senate courtyard, before a vast throng of fascinated reporters, with a fixed smile on her face, she consumed what for the benefit of family readers we will call a partially treated sewage sandwich. She was cool, charming and professional. She at no point lost her cool. And for much of the time, she made no sense whatsoever.

This is unsurprising, given that Ms Bishop was trying to explain how agreeing to abolish the agreements was pretty much the same as insisting on keeping them, if you thought about it.


Liberal Party Director Analyses Election Defeat

Brian Loughnane, Federal Director, Liberal PartyThe Liberal Party’s Federal Director, Brian Loughnane, has addressed the National Press Club on the coalition’s election defeat.

Loughnane said it was clear the coalition’s defeat was attributable to longer term strategic issues than short term tactical issues of recent months.

He said: “The swing away from the Government was particularly strong in some outer suburban seats in Sydney and key regional seats, and I believe these concerns with the cost of living and interest rates was an important factor.”

  • Listen to Loughnane’s speech:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Text of Brian Loughnane’s Address to the National Press Club.

Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I thank the National Press Club for the opportunity of today’s address as it allows me to discuss our defeat and some of the key issues for the Party over the next three years.

I just wish it were different circumstances which brought me here. But on 24th November, the people of Australia voted clearly to change Government. [Read more...]


Bennelong Declaration Ends Howard’s Political Career

The Australian Electoral Commission today declared the result in the electorate of Bennelong, formalising Maxine McKew’s victory over the former Prime Minister, John Howard.

Howard and McKew at the Bennelong declaration

Howard attended the declaration, congratulated McKew and spoke of the beauty of a democracy in which a peaceful transition of power can take place. [Read more...]


2007 Election: Update On Doubtful Seats

Labor Government Lead Dwindling; 16-Seat Majority Likely; 8 Seats Still Undecided

Dec 07 – 6.15pm – Nearly two weeks after polling day, counting continues for all electorates in the House of Representatives, with absentee, postal and declaration votes trickling in. The Australian Electoral Commission now has the ALP on 80 seats, the Liberals 50, The Nationals 10, and independents 2. There are 8 seats still in doubt. La Trobe is no longer regarded as doubtful, retained by the Liberal member, Jason Wood, by 889 votes.

  • Herbert – (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 323.
  • Dickson (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 221.
  • Bowman (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 102.
  • Swan (WA – Labor) – Lib ahead by 280.
  • Solomon (NT – CLP) – ALP ahead by 196.
  • Robertson – (NSW – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 182.
  • McEwen – (Vic – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 22.
  • Flynn (Qld – open) – ALP ahead by 459.

On these figures, a final result seems likely to deliver 83 ALP, 65 Coalition, 2 independents. This would produce a Labor majority of 16 (15 on the floor of the House).


Doubtful Seats Still Doubtful

Nov 30 – 8.45pm – Counting continues for all electorates in the House of Representatives, with absentee, postal and declaration votes trickling in. The deadline for the votes is late next week. The ALP is now 1,158 votes ahead in Corangamite and the AEC has removed it from its list of doubtful seats. McEwen and Robertson have been reinstated:

  • Herbert – (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 60.
  • Dickson (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 106.
  • Bowman (Qld – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 116.
  • Swan (WA – Labor) – Lib ahead by 239.
  • Solomon (NT – CLP) – ALP ahead by 262.
  • Robertson – (NSW – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 296.
  • McEwen – (Vic – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 396.
  • La Trobe (Vic – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 544.
  • Flynn (Qld – open) – ALP ahead by 636.

The AEC has the ALP winning 80 seats, the Liberals 49, The Nationals 10, and independents 2. A final result seems likely to deliver 84 or 85 seats to the ALP.


ALP Still On 80 Seats As Counting Continues

Nov 30 – 12.55am – The Australian Electoral Commission currently has the ALP with 80 seats, the Liberals 50, The Nationals 10, and independents 2. It lists 8 seats as doubtful:

  • Herbert – (Qld – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 27.
  • Bowman (Qld – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 60.
  • Swan (WA – Labor) – Lib ahead by 187.
  • Dickson (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 207.
  • Solomon (NT – CLP) – ALP ahead by 262.
  • Flynn (Qld – open) – ALP ahead by 590.
  • La Trobe (Vic – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 661.
  • Corangamite (Vic – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 764.

The NSW seat of Macarthur is no longer listed as doubtful. The sitting Liberal member, Pat Farmer, is ahead by 711 votes.


New Doubtfuls Emerge

Nov 28 – 11.00pm – The A.E.C. has added Corangamite, Solomon and Flynn to the six seats classified as doubtful yesterday. Latest counting shows:

  • Bowman (Qld – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 21.
  • Herbert – (Qld – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 108.
  • Swan (WA – Labor) – Lib ahead by 153.
  • Dickson (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 268.
  • Solomon (NT – CLP) – ALP ahead by 428.
  • Flynn (Qld – open) – ALP ahead by 590.
  • Macarthur (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 598.
  • La Trobe (Vic – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 730.
  • Corangamite (Vic – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 767.

In Bennelong, Labor’s Maxine McKew is 2,445 votes ahead of John Howard.


Update On Doubtful Seats

Nov 27 – 5.15pm – Whilst counting is not complete, the Australian Electoral Commission has judged the ALP to have won 83 seats, the Liberals 49, Nationals 10, and Independents 2.

Earlier today, the AEC removed McEwen from its doubtful list after the sitting Liberal member, Fran Bailey, established a lead of 872 votes. There are now 6 doubtful seats:

  • Bowman (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 27.
  • Swan (WA – Labor) – Lib ahead by 63.
  • Dickson (Qld – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 234.
  • Macarthur (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 508.
  • Herbert – (Qld – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 560.
  • La Trobe (Vic – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 712.

The best guess is that Bowman and Swan remain doubtful, whilst the current leaders will win the other seats. On this basis, the worst result for the ALP will be 85 seats, a majority of 20, or 19 after the provision of a Speaker. The most likely best result for the ALP is 87 seats, a majority of 24, or 23 after the provision of a Speaker.