Federal Election: John Howard, Kevin Rudd…Who Cares?

As a foreigner observing our first Federal election we can’t help but wonder if John Howard and his merry band of liberals and nationalists are going to pull this election out of the bag. We can’t stand politics and have a healthy loathing for the men and women that practice it. But politics is a great spectacle, and you can learn something about a people by how much scorn they have for their elected officials.

On the left, you have thinly veiled socialists who threaten to turn over the nation’s labour policy to the unions. They seem to be popular chiefly because they are not John Howard, whose face and eyebrows have become a bit too familiar to Australians over the last few years.

On the right, you have a government riding a China-boom without any real apparent plans to liberalise an economy that’s as regulated as any we’ve seen in Europe. Both parties support a strong government role in national life.

And the public seems to accept this. Indeed, the public, like a well-fed farm animal on a bright summer day in a field full of grass, appears remarkably content, not particularly fussed with anything really, except maybe climate change and the price of petrol and property.

A lunch companion assured us yesterday that Howard is a clever campaigner and that the election is still very much in doubt. Still, one of the signs of the late stages of a boom is a complete indifference to political issues. People simply can’t be asked to care when there isn’t much to worry about.

This lack of attention to politics is a good thing, we admit. If fewer people meddled in public affairs – telling us where to smoke, how much water to bathe with, and what kind of car to drive – the world would be a better place. As it is, we sense Australia becoming more like America each day, full of restrictions, taboos, and lame-brained politicians proposing incremental degradations in freedom. But we could be wrong. We barely understand Americans, and are still getting to know Australians.

Dan Denning
Markets and Money

Who will you be voting for? Does it matter? Leave a comment below.

Dan Denning
Dan Denning examines the geopolitical and economic events that can affect your investments domestically. He raises the questions you need to answer, in order to survive financially in these turbulent times.

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4 Comments on "Federal Election: John Howard, Kevin Rudd…Who Cares?"

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Adrian Liston
Well that was about as superficial insight as I’ve ever seen. The ALP is hardly socialist, while Australia in general believes in social support (such as universal health care), the ALP does not (unfortunately) propose pushing it much further than it already is. One wonders if you have read the ALP policy on Industrial Reforms, from the false Union soundbite it sounds like you relied on John Howard to read it for you. One also wonders if you have been awake the past decade – Australians do have very good reasons for wanting Howard out, and they are not based… Read more »
Chris. Fulker
Of course they don’t care! There is no “working class” anymore, anywhere in the West. There might also be little or no distinction anymore between “white collar” and “blue collar”: they make about the same pay, do similar sinecures of jobs… There is only the Consuming Class. Well-fed farm animals – maybe sheep! – are only concerned about what’s in front of their noses and what’s for dinner. Their time horizon extends no further than tonight’s prime-time TV slot offerings. So all the political parties offer this – no change, life-goes-on-as-ever-before soporifics, reassurances and now and then, guarantees that life… Read more »

I concur with your observations about Oz. We are engulfed in a comfort zone that seems to have no end. A deep luscious couch that we laze on at the end of every day and accept our programming.
It worries me that our apparent wealth is in the hands of a global movement rather than good management. I dont for one minute believe that our current leaders of Oz are responsible for the wealth that pours into this great wide (dry) land.
Unlike you fine chaps I am not in finance yet I know what a rat smells like….


Terrible current account deficit, towering foreign debt and money supply in flood mode. The nice fat farm animals are being enslaved (via housing bubble and mortgage),and can’t even feel the shackles tightening.
Economically Oz is a pimple on the backside of the world. The lenders of the world will soon own a lovely strip mine and nuclear waste dump, formerly known as Australia. The faunal emblem of the ACT, where our federal capital Canberra is located, is the Gang-Gang Cockatoo. A less polite name is Galah (a byword for really stupid). Pretty appropriate.

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