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The Times Of London On Howard’s Roman Holiday

This is the text of an editorial from The Times of London.

When in Rome: The Australian Prime Minister’s impressive hotel bill

It takes a lot to shock an Australian. Indeed, about 500,000 volts are normally required to have any impact. But Senator Robert Ray spoke for a nation yesterday when he pronounced himself utterly “shocked” by the A$45,000 (£18,000) bill acquired by John Howard, the Prime Minister, for his four-night stay in the Royal Suite of the St Regis Grand Hotel in Rome. The Italian Government appears to have been equally stunned as it has, contrary to protocol, refused to pick up the tab. It has not helped that Mr Howard is also under fire for laying down a wine cellar at public expense four years ago. This was sold as a long-term investment for dealing with the demands of foreign dignitaries. Alas, as one envious Opposition spokesman put it: “They’ve guzzled the lot.” [Read more…]


Hugs And Unfair Dismissals: Howard Meets With Berlusconi

John Howard has met with the Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, as part of his European trip.

Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of ItalyThe two men discussed Industrial Relations reform, prompting a question to Howard about whether he would consider a three-year trial of the unfair dismissal laws legislation his government has before the Parliament. The legislation provides for the abolition of unfair dismissal laws as they apply to small businesses employing fewer than 50 people. Howard gave guarded support to the idea and is quoted as saying: “Three years, very interesting time!” [Read more…]