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It makes me quite nostalgic listening to this. Especially the mention of exports.

Trade, now there would be a novel discussion. I wonder why it is never mentioned anymore?

Perhaps because under Labour we have been in deficit for the last 10 years? Labour isn't working. Mmmmmmm that sounds familiar somehow?

I have been following the progress of this campain with interest as my daughter is married to an Australian.

Kevin Rudd is a con artist and devoid of any real policies, just like our nuLab lot. If the Oz electorate take a chance they are sleepwalking into the ten years of economic decline we are seeing in the UK with the rise of Union power and the wrecking of their economy.

I hope Mr. Howard wins, but if he loses he would be welcome here to lead a real Conservative/UKIP party. Austrailia`s loss would be our gain.

Objectively I think that the Coalition are likely to lose, though I pray narrowly. Whilst the polls are not good the seat count is different.

The clip shown should appeal to the small business community, particularly in Queensland where Labour have to do well.

The worst that could happen is that the Coalition gets wiped out as the Conservatives were in '97 (though not obliterated like the Canadian Tories).

For Australia's sake, if Rudd wins it should be a narrow win that could be easily reversed.

My feeling is that Kevin Rudd will win a comfortable majority and that he will win some surprising seats with supposedly safe Liberal majorities. No federal government has been defeated in modern terms by half-measures: when the swing's on, it's on. And be under no doubt - it is on.

My guess is that the 90-60 split in the numbers in the Reps will be roughly reversed after this election. Sadly, it's over.

PS Edward Huxley: John Howard is far too much of a party loyalist to ever "rat" by splitting the party and supporting a UKIP-style outfit. You completely misunderstand the man (and Australia's political culture) if you think he would operate like that.

I'm very sorry to read your post Alexander.I had hoped that Howard could still make one of his famous comebacks.But when someone as expert as you says 'it's over',it probably is.

Hello everyone... from Australia.

First a comment on the ad, then a comment on Howard's end. This is not an "official" advert through Liberal party channels btw... which is why it is so damned inept. Firstly, Australians do not see themselves in this light, as much as the stereotype of the ocker male is bandied about. What behavior you see from young Australians in the UK is as representative of us as beer swilling, backpacking yoof from London are of yourselves. You've just lost the women's vote. Secondly, it suggests that Australians were gambling when they threw Keating out to elect Howard. In that case, why not gamble again, when it worked so well last time? You just lost everyone else with a brain. Whoever made this has no clue, the logic is flawed. The earwax thing is no loser for Rudd btw, despite the offence to hygiene. We aren't that snobbish, remember, and we see through ad hominem smears quickly down here (see my point on anti-politics below).

Some thoughts on this campaign from within the trenches. Now I'm a Menziean liberal myself, which is a very particular political approach native to this country. It's a strongly English liberal position, with an inflection unique to Australia, in that it was never intended by Menzies to be a class-based construction founded in privilege. What you must remember is that, although the Menzies Liberal Party opposed socialism, it was not a Conservative Party. It was by contrast an aspirational "middle class" (a term Menzies used grudgingly as he could find no better) party. I would recommend Menzies' own Forgotten People speeches on this point.

The reason I mention this is that many of you seem to be mourning John Howard's impending loss because he fits your conservative views. I don't disagree that he does, nor do I wish to argue the point against you regarding this political approach at this time. If we did, we would no doubt have many things to agree and disagree on. What I want to do is explain why he is failing from an insider's perspective. In doing so, please accept that I am not here to debate the rights or wrongs of policy, but rather to outline the forces at work for your interest. On the positive side, you might find this helps you understand in some way just why David Cameron has made such ground up on Blair and Brown by going green, though that's for you to tell me of course.

The real point here is that vast numbers of Liberal voters - in the traditional Australian sense - are feeling more and more disenfranchised by Howard. This is happening for several reason. Firstly, by Howard's swinging the party to the hard Conservative right. This works against Menziean values. He's had no real liberal agenda, just an agenda to hold power and impose conservatism, and finally patience is being lost with this policy vacuum in traditional liberal thinking. His contributions to policy over the course of government are minimal. He has simply ridden his luck and the absence of real challengers (both 3 talentless Labor leaders - Beazley, Crean and Latham - and the witless Peter Costello as his deputy) well.

Second, and related, Howard has promoted IR policies that, in attempting to cover this lack of substance, aim to fight a war against unions that was won over 20 years ago by the Labor party itself under Hawke/Keating. I cannot agree that he is a policy genius, as the record simply isn't there - unfortunately I have to agree with the Labor Party that Hawke/Keating laid the reform ground for our current boom, including de-fanging the unions. This final point, so pertinent to why even business hates his complicated and unnecessary WorkChoices reforms, means that the primary historical rationale for conservatism - keep the union reds out of office - has evaporated.

Third, and most damaging of all, Howard has ignored the geopolitical turn to climate change politics, and as a result has ignored a fundamental criterion of Australian politics - we are a small country, with minimal clout, so we tend to follow the global agenda rather than set it. Ironically, this means that the wealth creation stewarded by Howard has been his ultimate undoing. These disaffected people I referred to, the Liberal voters, follow on from Hayek's observation in "Constitution of Liberty" (p.45) that wealth is an opportunity for free citizens to arrogate some of the responsibility for social development to themselves, and that in times of wealth, people's thoughts turn from getting rich to other ends. Australia has never had it so good, and being sensible people, they want investment in the future. They want Howard to focus on fixing problems rather than maintaining his political advantages. Howard's continuing failure to move with the shift in the international geopolitical agenda - climate change - and his use of divisive tactics offends their political sensibilities at this critical time. Rudd, on the other hand, is putting this across, hence why he is cutting through with people in safe Liberal seats.

Finally, Australians have a strong anti-political streak, and eventually, they'll just get sick of your posturing if you have no substance. This is why Ministers such as Joe Hockey, in nominally safe seats such as North Sydney, are facing a potential loss. Not only are under-35's disaffected, bearing the brunt of the recent IR changes, but now even the so-called "doctors' wives" who are the core of Liberal voting are moving across to the "safety" of Rudd - who is arguing that change and investment are needed and that the old Labor politics of Union control is a red herring. I just wish some of my fellow liberals would realize that this is true, rather than peer at the space under their beds through blue-colored glasses. Howard has been reduced to impotent negativity, and there is nothing we hate worse than an obvious loser - just ask our rugby team.

My own vote? Despite my prejudices, I'm hoping for a coalition wipeout a la Canada 1997 (unlikely though, it'll be 90:60). Why? Because it was the destruction of the UAP after 1941 that allowed Menzies to rebuild liberalism so effectively for the post-war era 1949-1972. Rudd is a bureaucrat with no union ties, so you can expect a tight and boring service-provision ship for the next ten years. Just enough time to build a proper liberal opposition capable of reconfiguring business to really deal with our pressing environmental issues here in drought-land, without enfeebling and over-political conservatism in its ranks.

Warm regards, Adam

I'm an Australian from the "other side of the fence to Adam. My wife and I own our own businesses.
I've got to agree with everything Adam has said.
The majority of the nation is fed up with Howard and his constant lieing, No GST (VAT), Children overboard, Tampa, and the non core promise of "work choices". That's even before he took us to a war in Iraq. How could we forget his "gracious" handing out of medals at the RWC in 03.
To me the man has no morals, and if he does win the election and does retire, we have had no confirmation that his smirking treasuer will not continue his crushing of the workforce.
I, for one, cannot wait for saturday to get rid of this devisive little man and his government.

I'm another Australian who can't wiat to see the back of JWH. I'm old enough to remember his years as treasurer in Fraser's Government, so I've never voted for his party (and never will). I was dismayed when he first won Government, and I have become increasingly despondent with each election victory. I'm just sorry it has taken so many Australians so long to wake up. But if you mob want him, you're quite welcome to take him. He'll be looking for a new home on Sunday.


One of the most sensible posts I have read in a while. I'm not voting Howard due to his divisive politics, and believe that the Liberals need to lose this election for the good of the party. Howard has stunted the party, controls it with an iron fist and has swung them too far to the right for many.

I don't want to see a landslide, as it's unhealthy for democracy, but the Liberals need a whole new re-brand.

Divisive politics? Try Keating-style cultural politics 93-96. Went down a treat in Queensland and western Sydney, where Australian elections are decided - and where has Rudd gone out of his way to smooth the ALP's edgier image.

John Howard's hallmarks - a commitment to economic reform, national security and border protection, along with his own brand of cultural traditionalism - are so attractive that Rudd is now seeking to emulate them with his 'me-too' approach to policy and campaigning!

I anticipate a Labor victory too, in the knowledge that Generation Y hasn't tasted a federal Labor government yet, and like every generation before it, will want to try it out. Experimentation with dodgy products is to be expected - but the side-effects usually aren't. I'm not expecting 17% interest rates within a term, but the penny will drop with Gen Y, like it has with their parents.

It's just sad that Australia will lose a good government in order to work this out.

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