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Howard Says He Has Listened To The Voters But Maintains Government Direction Is Sound

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has held a press conference in Canberra this afternoon in which he has accepted responsibility for the Ryan by-election.

HowardHoward says he has heard what the voters have to say, but he maintained that the result was more akin to the by-elections in Adelaide and Port Adelaide in 1988, and Oxley in 1989. In these elections, the Hawke government suffered large swings, up to 14%, losing the previously safe Adelaide electorate.

Howard argued that the swing of 10% against his government in Ryan was less than the swings against the ALP in its by-elections and denied that the result meant he could not win this year’s general election.

The Prime Minister argued that he would need to explain his government’s policies better and said that the nation could not pull back from its involvement with the rest of the world. [Read more…]


A Night Of See-Saw Counting In Ryan By-Election

Counting in the Ryan by-election showed a strong swing to the ALP from the outset, but a close result was also evident from the earliest figures.

At one stage, the Australian Electoral Commission website reported that counting in all 32 booths had been completed and gave the Liberal candidate, Bob Tucker, a narrow lead of 50.13%. Around an hour later, the site was updated with fresh figures showing the Labor candidate, Leonie Short, with a lead of 50.64%.

This is how the night unfolded: [Read more…]


Howard Opens Liberal Party Campaign For Ryan By-Election

After a dramatic week in Federal politics, the Prime Minister, John Howard, has opened the Liberal Party’s campaign for the Ryan by-election on March 17.

HowardThe Liberal Party holds Ryan with a margin of 9.5%, but its candidate, Bob Tucker, faces a difficult task to retain the seat.

The government has this week reversed a number of previous policy positions, notably the decision to cut the fuel excise by 1.5% and remove indexation of petrol prices.

The Ryan by-election was caused by the retirement of John Moore, the former Defence Minister. The Liberal candidate is Bob Tucker. The ALP candidate is Leonie Short.

Text of John Howard’s speech at the opening of Liberal candidate Bob Tucker’s campaign for the Ryan by-election.

Well thank you very much Bob, to Greer and the other members, all generations of the Tucker family, Con Galtos, Shane Stone, other parliamentary colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. [Read more…]