Another column from former PM, Paul Keating in today’s SMH.
Thankfully, it’s not a crowing vindication of all the bile he’s poured onto John Howard over the past 12 years, but more a confirmation that what he has advocated as governmental principals over that time have finally won the day. Australia has always been a socially conservative nation. This was proven beyond any doubt on Saturday night as an economically conservative, business oriented and socially divisive governmental ethos was finally recognised by the Australian electorate, and dismissed.
Labor has a monumental task before it in reforming and reshaping the views of business and industry in this country to the more socially acceptable, longer-term realities of life for lower-middle class Australian workers. Unions have a reprieve now from the onslaught of the Howardian era, and a chance to also realise that consensus with business is the only path to follow. I say reprieve because Rudd now has a honeymoon period in which the Unions and unionists like Dean Mighell and John Robertson will be tolerated for their demanding outbursts, but not forever.
In the end, I think Keating sums up the results of Saturday night quite succinctly:
In the end, Howard didn’t understand how great his opportunity was and how it could not be advanced by regressive and reactionary policies fuelled by social exclusion and division. Let us hope the Liberal Party purges itself of its reactionary majority, for Australia cannot afford another prime minister like John Howard.