Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Howard’s End


John Howard is gone. A mean-spirited little toady and lickspittle to the Monster Bush, Howard’s end when it came was more like watching a blood sport,than an election result.

Picture the scene.

In Australia’s capital, Canberra, a huge crowd had gathered on Saturday night in the National Tally Room to see the posting on an electronic scoreboard of the results for the all important 150 House of Representative seats.

When the votes began to flood in after 7.00 pm on Saturday it was soon apparent that not only was there a gathering swing across Australia against Howard conservative coalition,but in Howard’s own Sydney seat of Bennelong,he was in desperate trouble.

His Labor opponent, a charismatic journalist, Maxine McHugh, urged the voters to reject Howard’s reactionary policies, and to make that emphatic by throwing him out of the seat he had held since 1974.

As Howard,in the Sydney residence of the Prime Minister.watched his Ministers and others being swept away, he himself was gathered up in the flood and swept away too.

Not since 1929 had an Australia Prime Minister lost his own seat at an election.

When Maxine McHugh made an appearance on the Tally Room screens the audience erupted,many shouting “Howard Out, Howard Out”

In the Tally Room the clamour grew so marked was it that the panel of journalists broadcasting the results were silenced by the tumult!

Howard was seen to be losing his own seat,just as the results showed his colleagues being decimated,with some Ministers among the fallen.

It soon became apparent that Labor had won the 75 seats needed for a Majority in the 150-member chamber. The swing continued and Labor will have a majority of about 20 in the new House,and in the Senate with it’s allies .the Greens (.who will have 5 seats in the new Senate, )it will have a majority too.

The new Labor Prime Minister ,Kevin Rudd,is an impressive intellectual,who amongst other talents is a fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese,a rare talent amongst Australian politicians,but a talent that clearly won many votes for Labor amongst the burgeoning Asian communities in Melbourne and Sydney.

Top of the list for the new Australian Government will be striking down Howard’s anti-union laws which contributed to his defeat.

Labor also had made the problems of climate change a major issue,aided by their Green party allies. Howard a long time sceptic on that issue had a deathbed conversion,but too late.

Polls showed that amongst young voters,his party secured only about 30% of the vote.

Another key issue was a promise by Labor to withdraw the Australian force from Iraq. George Bush had no more slavish adherent on the issue of the war in Iraq than Howard , His closeness to Bush had become a matter of national embarrassment,and must have helped in generating the mood which has swept him away.

Some time ago an American friend suggested that there was some sort of curse on those allied to Bush in his criminal endeavours in the Middle East. and elsehere.

We have seen Aznar in Spain, Berlusconi in Italy. Blair in the U.K, and now today John Howard. all toppled from power by angry electorates….The Curse of the House of Bush. indeed!… something by Edgar Allen Poe.

In their public and private meetings Bush and Howard always engaged in a mutual love fest,pouring compliments on to each other.

Bush even once called Howard, “The Man of Steel”.

One is reminded of the final unmasking of the Wizard of Oz,in which see the Wizard as a rather sad little man,once the curtain is pulled away.

The Australian people have finally pulled away the curtain from Bush’s Deputy Sheriff. The game is over,and one of the last warriors of the Coalition of the Willing has fallen!

BRIAN McKINLAY is a former Teacher and a Historian of the Australian Labor Movement, and has written a number of books on Australian History and Politics.



More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 25, 2016
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation wasted $32.2 million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians