I find Paul Kelly to be a fairly accurate commentator on matters political, and pretty much a person who doesn’t openly exhibit his known biases. His editorial in today’s The Australian is an excellent case in point.
In particular, I find this assessment to be the most accurate in connection with what makes John Howard tick, that I have yet read from any commentator.
“The lesson is that Howard’s pragmatic attitude towards federalism is driven by politics. He has no interest in reform of the federal system. His outlook has varied between action and inaction depending on political advantage, with the consequences of his action usually being to increase federal powers.”
‘no interest in reform’……’depending upon political advantage’. Very pointed characterisations and from my perspective, accurate observations. Accurate also that Kevin Rudd is virtually no different, only playing on the other side of the street. Opportunists both. The only real difference being that Howard is blatantly overt in his ‘damn the torpedos’ approach to combatting the Rudd wave, while Rudd is somewhat disturbingly quiet in regard to the Howardian china shop bull approach to politicking. No critique, no accusation, just a quiet disregard.
Federalism is going to wind up be reformed one way or another in 2008. Under Howard, it will be drawn and quartered, decapitated, its entrails burned and it’s head placed on a pike at the city gates. Under Rudd, it’s likely that Federalism will be slowly poisioned with continuous doses of sugar-coated co-operation wrapped around subtle pieces of legistalion and regulation designed to remove the fiscal responsibilities from the States which cause disagreement and angst. Not too far removed from a frontal lobotomy.
Both men the same, but both men different. Same end result likely at the end of the day.