Skip to comments.Labor Party wins Australian election (Howard out, Rudd in)
Posted on 11/24/2007 5:15:56 AM PST by nuconvert
Labor Party wins Australian election
By Bernard Lagan in Sydney
Australia's long-serving conservative government not only lost yesterday's Australian election but its leader, John Howard, became only the second Prime Minister in Australia's history to lose his seat in Parliament.
The Australian Labor Party, out of power nationally since 1996, stormed back into government, winning at least 20 more seats in Australia's 150-seat House of Representatives. The Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, 50, needed only 16 extra seats to form Government.
Mr Rudd, a former diplomat and China specialist, will have Australia's first female deputy Prime Minister at his side - Julia Gillard, a former lawyer.
There were wild scenes at the national election tally room in Australia's capital, Canberra, last night as hundreds of people queued for entry to witness a historic change of government after nearly 12 years of conservative rule by Mr Howard's Liberal-National Coalition.
Only once before since the beginning of the Australian federation in 1901 has a sitting Prime Minister been thrown out of his seat at a general election. Prime Minister Stanley Bruce lost his seat in the 1929 election after becoming deeply unpopular for attempting to erode the rights of workers.
Members of Mr Howard's own Government conceded last night that 68-year-old Howard's controversial Work Choices laws, which also curtailed workers' rights, were a major factor in his loss of Government and of his Parliamentary seat of Bennelong in suburban Sydney which he held for 33 years.
Australia's long-serving former Labor Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, who left office in 1993, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) television election panel that it was ironic that Mr Howard's long political career had ended with the loss of his seat in Parliament.
He said that like Bruce, Mr Howard had been voted out because he had reduced workers' rights.
"It's a delicious irony and repetition of history," Mr Hawke told ABC television's election night panel.
Mr Howard conceded the defeat of his government shortly before 11pm last night, saying he accepted full responsibility for the defeat and he wished the Labor leader, Mr Rudd, well.
Mr Howard said the Labor Party had won an emphatic victory.
"I have bequeathed to him [Mr Rudd] a nation that is stronger, prouder and more prosperous than it was 11½ ago," Mr Howard said.
Mr Howard made clear that he believed his Treasurer, Mr Peter Costello, should succeed him as leader of the Australian Liberal Party. Mr Howard had previously said that if he won the election he would have handed over to Mr Costello in the middle of his term.
Mr Rudd appeared at his Brisbane campaign headquarters shortly after 11pm to rowdy scenes of welcome.
His first public words as Prime Minister were: "OK, guys."
He said: " Australia has looked to the future. The Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward."
He said he wished to put aside what he called old battles between employers and unions and developers and environmentalists.
"The great Australian 'fair go' has a future and not a past," said Mr Rudd.
Mr Rudd won his loudest applause when he paid tribute to a dying worker, Mr Bernie Banton, suffering from workplace- induced cancer. He said Mr Banton, engaged in a deathbed battle for compensation from his employer, was a beacon for Australian trade unionism and workers.
A former television presenter, Maxine McKew, stood for the Labor Party and appeared to have defeated Mr Howard in his Sydney suburban seat of Bennelong.
A jubilant Ms McKew, told her supporters last night: "This has been an amazing night - a wonderful night for the Labor Party. A fabulous - I hope - transforming moment for the country."
Nick Michin, the Finance Minister in the Horward Government and a close confidant of Mr Howard, said on ABC TV last night: "The industrial relations reforms may well have cost us this election."
Like Rudd, the Clintons are China experts too.
his real name is Ludd?
A down-under blunder there mate.
Sounds like China is about to receive a lot of new sensitive technology as they did with the Clintons. Sandy Berger was also a lawyer and "China specialist".
Yes, but how long will it last now?
Rudd seems to be a panda hugger.
We have to be more careful what arms we sell to Australia. With the spying going on.
You dropped the lede. Part of his team also includes a member of the band Midnight Oil. It’s like having the Dixie Chicks and Sandy Berger (or John Edwards, pick a lawyer) there with you... I believe that television producer chick is there too... so, Chris Matthews or George Stumphalupagus as well.
It is a sad day for Australia. Is there any chance the exit polls could be wrong? It is a most undeserved defeat but I suppose people need a few years of empty promises, fairy tale politics, and high taxes to remind them of why liberals should never be trusted with the reigns of government of any nation.
Well, thanks PM Howard...
Economic-wise, you rocked. You’ve always had our back (sorry about the FT farm thing... we sucked on that one).
In a few months, your people will scream to have you back.
Pray for your country... I will.
In five years, when the economy is in the flusher, Rudd will be fed to the Dingos.
Defeated Howard thanks Australia
“Is there any chance the exit polls could be wrong?”
Howard conceded. And he lost his parliamentary seat too.
According to an Australian Freeper who wrote me, this was not unexpected. People were ready for change after almost 12 yrs.
There is an upside. If you’re planning a trip to Australia, your dollar will likely go much further in a few years than it does now.
In five years, they will be so ravaged by muzzies and clawed by the dragon, the economy will be the leat of their worries.
The infestation of leftist nannyism continues.
From the Fox News article on this, “Rudd has pledged to govern as an “economic conservative,” while pouring money into schools and universities. He will curtail sweeping industrial reforms laws that were perceived to hand bosses too much power, turning many working voters against Howard.”
We all know that “pouring money into schools and universities” means advancing leftist ideals with the young even more. When they find it isn’t working, they just dump more money in while taking a bigger bite out of paychecks.
No matter how you package it, leftist socialism doesn’t work. I guess the world will just have to find out the hard way.
Thank you John Howard. God speed to you from your American friends.
Unfortunately Australians have shown an alarming degree of tolerance to such things even without Labor in power.
Might be a good idea for State to put Australia on a "do not visit" list for awhile to see how bad it gets.
this was not unexpected. People were ready for change after almost 12 yrs.
Change is not always a good thing! I hope America realizes it come 08. Liberals should never be given the purse strings IMHO.
“Voters warmed to his promise to pull Australian troops out of Iraq and sign the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, further isolating the US, which had received strong backing from Mr Howard.”
Ok, so the idiots get more of a wedge into us...Yeah, its all about us (geesh), opposing us has become an international political trend...
What a shame, yet, I am not surprised by this...
I’m no expert on Oz politics, but it looks like the Workchoices program created not a free-market environment, but one in which unions and businesses are restricted in how they can negotiate. Businesses write up some standard employment contract (AWAs) and no negotiation is allowed. As a result of giving the business side so much legal power, wages have been depressed.
Screwing people’s wages is not a good way to win them over.
Interestingly, Labor, which won on an anti-Workchoices platform, actually wants to keep most of its provisions. You’d think they’d be talking about a rollback.
Labor has been out of power for more than a decade, and few in Mr. Rudd’s team including him has any government experience at federal level. His team includes a former rock star Midnight Oil singer Peter Garrett a television journalist and former union officials....
Should be interesting to watch this play out....
Are you sure you replied to the right person?
Australia also needs term limits for their politicians at every level! Term limits could possibly have prevented their present political situation because Howard would probably have been replaced earlier by somebody else from Howard’s political party. I’m not saying that it’s definite, just possible.
As Spain is now Osama’s bit*h,Australia now has two pimps,China and Islam.I guess they suffer from” Western Manhood Shrinking” like Europe and America.
Aussie voters are just like American voters. They keep electing people who promise to give them more free stuff until one day they can't deny they're in a mess. Then they elect conservative "adults" to impose the disciplines they should have exercised all along, to put their house into order. When the economic and foreign relations infrastructures are humming nicely again, they spit on conservatives and vote for the Labor folks who promise to give them Utopia -- and lots of new free stuff. And the cycle repeats.
As Spain is now Osamas bit*h,Australia now has two pimps,China and Islam.I guess they suffer from Western Manhood Shrinking like Europe and America.....
Abortion, and feminism, totals the white male’s demise....
I don’t think this had much to do with it. From what I read and understand it was all about Labor Reforms issues...
Don't worry, Labor will take care that in short order.
We’ll never have better allies than the Aussies. They will be missed... mightily.
Part of what makes victory most difficult in Australia is that all are mandated to vote.
So you do get a very uninformed electorate heading into the polls.
This was bound to happen, although I didn’t think it would be this bad. People tend to get angry when their social programs are disturbed.
There is a reason Social Security is the third-rail in this country. I’m a little worried for our candidates to this point, as all of the major ones are talking about cutting benefits or retooling it.
As a rule, morons love social programs. That whole guaranteed check in the mail...they’ll take that over opportunity every time. Namely because they’ve lived a life of failures.
“Only once before since the beginning of the Australian federation in 1901 has a sitting Prime Minister been thrown out of his seat at a general election. Prime Minister Stanley Bruce lost his seat in the 1929 election after becoming deeply unpopular for attempting to erode the rights of workers.”
I think it should be noted that John Howard held his seat of Bennelong for 22 years (not 33 years - he had a political career for 33 years). Before the recent election he didn’t really campaign much at Bennelong, focusing more on helping others in his party and campaigning more on their behalf. Also note, his seat at Bennelong was won by former ABC (Australia) journalist “Maxine McKew” who is married to a Labor Politician.
“Members of Mr Howard’s own Government conceded last night that 68-year-old Howard’s controversial Work Choices laws, which also curtailed workers’ rights, were a major...”
I don’t think it had much to do with “Work Choices” laws or supporting Iraq war.
I think it had much more to do with the fact that Howard’s government had been in power for 11 and half years. People mostly wanted a change, the writing was pretty much on the wall a couple of months before the election. I very much doubt that people would’ve gone for the “Liberal/national coalition” had Peter Costello taken over the leadership before the election either. People wanted a change.
On the upside, Rudd is not a leftist per se. His indication of policies and vision, so far, have been centre-right. I doubt there will be much change in policies toward the U.S. - Australia (Labor or Liberal) has always supported the U.S. - Bob Hawke (a Labor PM back in the 1980’s who was more of a trade unionist than Rudd is a good example). Anyway, we’ll know in about 12 months as to whether Rudd can deliver on his promises. If not, he will be kicked out!
Anyway, John Howard was one great Australian PM in recent decades with many contributions, especially economically, to Australia. He will be remembered as such too. All good things must come to an end one day and I think it was the voters telling him that the Coalition (liberal/nationals) needs new blood after nearly 12 years in office. Actually, one factor that helped Rudd win was that at the end of the day, Rudd’s Labor party pretty much echoed Howard’s policies with minor variations. So, the voters didn’t have much to differentiate by between Labor and Coalition.
Anyway, the Australian Coalition will regroup and hopefully with Peter Costello’s leadership will make a comeback next election. A sound democracy will need both a strong government and a strong opposition for the good of the people.
So much for Murdoch being a conservative. Relatives in Australia told me he came down and personally directed his papers and other media to back Rudd. Now America has probably lost it’s best ally in terms of a government (most Aussies like the US, but some are very left and hate us).
It is true the even a ‘right-wing’ newspaper such as “the Australian” backed Rudd, whereas back in 1996 (first time Howard government took over from Labor party) the Australian newspaper backed Howard and then the following Federal election, 3 years later, the Australian newspaper refused to back either Labor or Liberals.
You may also be surprised (or not) that many corporations in Australia had been preparing for a Labor government over the last couple of months, at least.
“Now America has probably lost its best ally in terms of a government (most Aussies like the US, but some are very left and hate us).”
I don’t think this is necessarily true. I think, culturally, the Australians do not like to “perceive” themselves to be under the influence of any other prominent country, be it the U.K. or the U.S. - some feel a sense of rivalry. Out of a nation of approx. 21 million, I don’t believe we have many “ultra leftists” in this country. Even the trade unions are more of an ‘internal’ menace for Australia (traditionally, the trade unions are/were called ‘the British disease’).
However, as far as the Labor or Liberal governments are concerned, I’m pretty sure, historically is true as well, that Australia will always support the U.S. when needed.
Thanks for all your info
“Members of Mr Howard’s own Government conceded last night that 68-year-old Howard’s controversial Work Choices laws, which also curtailed workers’ rights, were a major factor in his loss of Government..”
Regarding above quote, Mr Howard’s own government, as far as I’m aware and since last night, made no such claims about “Work Choices Laws”.
In fact, Work Choices Laws were very welcomed in Western Australia, with its considerable Mining industry and workers.
But since NSW and Queensland States, given their considerable population/voters, basically, determine the outcome of a Federal election, the potential impact of “work choices laws” can be somewhat distorted.
If Labor manages to maintain and add to the current very strong economy of Australia over the next 3 years, then it may have a good chance of remaining in power (all else being equal). Otherwise, Labor will be out the door, since the majority of people under 35 in Australia have not known a recession under Liberals.
Traditionally, Labor party (over the last two decades in particular) has not been known for its effective and workable economic management!
“If Labor manages to maintain and add to the current very strong economy of Australia over the next 3 years, then it may have a good chance of remaining in power “
Guess we’ll have to wait and see how badly they screw things up.
Thanks for all your input
They surrender to evil, just like the Brits.
Soon we will be the only ones left, the weak nations have left us.
At least we will be able to do as we please and not have to waste time with feckless “allies”