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Howard fell into the same trap as Mrs Thatcher. He had the opportunity to hand over after the last election (to his Finance minister) so the Coalition could have gone to the country as re-vitalised with a strong economy. Now the voters desire for a new face means Rudd.
9 or 10 years is the most a premier should look for,

I still hope Howard wins as he has been a very good PM. But Ted is right. All politicians have their time and John Howards has passed.

While Howard has done a lot for his country, it is remiss of Switzer to omit mention of the resources boom that has brought substantial benefits to the Australian economy.

Isn't their top rate of tax around 60%?

The Asian currency crisis is often overlooked and was largely caused by the aggressive arbitrage culture of George Soros, only Malaysia stood up to Soros in those days and I don't seem to remember John Howard laying the blame at the speculators door. Nontheless I can't argue that the Howard years have brought a good deal of domestic success, although I'm not impressed with any leader who introduces 'Workfare' and claims to have cured unemployment. Workfare isn't work, its a cop-out and a gimmick.

Try 45%, Richard.

Howard's likely a dead letter at this point, the electorate appear to have put him on mute. This is pretty much a nightmare of his own making, and a delicious irony as he has poineered 'working' the news cycle and the perpetual election campaign. His industrial relations reforms, sprung without warning after the Coalition won control of the Senate in 2004 (which no one saw coming) have managed to be divisive, unpopular amongst employees and small-business owners alike, and a centralising, bureaucratic nightmare all at once.

That, and the sense that he's had a good innings and is now hanging around for his own personal enjoyment are the two major bones of contention that have alienated him from much of the blue-collar and ex-blue collar suburban vote that he captured in 1996.

If Howard had gone last year he could have claimed to be one of Australia's greatest PMs, but the inability of politicians to relinquish power has led many a career to end in ignominy and it looks like his will too, possibly with the loss of his own seat.

I would like nothing more than for John Howard to be returned as Prime Minister. But I think it is very, very unlikely. In my seat of North Sydney, (a safe Liberal seat on the North Shore, next to Howard's seat of Bennelong) our candidate is fighting hard but apparently under some pressure.

I think on balance Howard will hold Bennelong but unlikely we (Coalition) will hold government.

Howard is a top man in my view but sadly I think he will lose this time and Costello will take over of leader of the Libs. He has been 'champing at the bit' for ages- who does that remind you of?!

Have never been able to work out why every single state has a Labour administration but the federal government for years has been Lib/Nat.

The world will soon be rid of John Howard. Rejoice!

The incoming Australian Government will no doubt hold another referendum on abolishing the monarchy (any party has to appease certain interests), but will no doubt endure another No vote.

After all, by rejecting Howard, Australians will have rejected every anti-monarchist argument, not least "meritocracy" (that those with wealth and paper qualifications should determine merit, on the basis of wealth and paper qualifications), globalisation (with its erosion of national and local differences), and, within that, enforced conformity to the culture (in a horribly debased form) and to the geopolitical interests of the United States.

Nothing could better encapsulate that rejection than another vote to retain the institution that, across so many Realms and Territories, stands for and embodies something so much better, so much nobler, so much more humane. God Save The Queen!

May be I am a bit dense but I simply dont understand what David Linsay is saying albeit perhaps 'tongue in cheek'. If I lived in Australia, which I wish I did, then I would vote against the Queen being Head of State and effectively vote for a Republic. It will come sooner or later- about about 20% of the population was born outside Australia. Walking through Paramatta as an example you would think you were in Bangkok or Hanoi etc.

They are on the other side of the world and how often does the Queen visit? I would add that I have been to Australia 7/8 times so do have a fair idea of life there.

Not only is the monarchy inextricably tied up with the British model of social democracy, which (tailored to suit Australian conditions) is the essence of the ALP soon to resume office, but the monarchy also binds together numerous Realms and Territories throughout the world, including four of the world's five longest-standing democracies, one of which is Australia.

Desires to loosen those ties belong to the thirty years or so after the War, and are utterly anachronistic now. If the Australians were ever going to do it, then they should, and would, have done it then. Where those ties still bind, then it is now reasonable to say that they will bind for ever. Thank God.

John Howard may have governed during a time of economic success (but only if you were well off to start with), but the social costs have been great.

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