About that Speech

According to John Howard’s opening to his major speech on “Australia Risingâ€? yesterday, Queensland is the down-under equivalent of California. Sorry, I’m digressing already – not a promising start. Let’s move on to substance of the speech, which begins where the sucking up to locals leaves off.

My speech today is about the future of our nation. It looks ahead to an Australia rising to the challenges of the next decade and beyond – to an Australia within reach.

This is followed by the promise of further speeches to come, and in those speeches, promises for future action – by a Howard Liberal government naturally to.

… keep the economy strong and the nation secure so Australians can plan for the future with confidence.

From here, he moves on to sketch his expectations for Australia a decade hence:

Liberal democracies [like Australia] will flourish, yet their purpose, patience and resolve will continue to be tested. For a country like Australia, there’ll be no holiday from history or from the long struggle against terrorism.

Let’s just ignore that “holiday from historyâ€? business – it’s just portentous piffle. More important is that for present purposes, John Howard expects – or rather wants us to expect – that the struggle against terrorism will still be with us in 2020, so the best bet for this little liberal democracy is to stick with the tried and true – the broad church of Burkean conservatives and Millian liberals that is the Liberal Party of Australia.

What is it that will get us through these difficult times to come? Our national sense of balance preserved by “… economic growth, leavened always by Australian commonsense.â€?

And so we move from the global sphere, and the global battle of ideas, to local politics and the greatest moral challenge facing this country at this time. Is it, as Kevin Rudd maintains, global warming? Hell no.

Do we need to lower carbon emissions over time? Of course we do.

But to say that climate change is the overwhelming moral challenge for this generation of Australians is misguided at best; misleading at worst.

It de-legitimises other challenges over which we do have significant control. Other challenges with moral dimensions just as real and pressing as those that surround climate change.

It also obscures the need for balance in government decision-making. It feeds ideological demands for knee-jerk policy reactions that would destroy jobs and the living standards of ordinary Australians.

To me, the moral challenge of our time is not vastly different from the challenge earlier generations faced. It’s to build a prosperous, secure and fair Australia – a confident nation at ease with the world and with itself.
(my emphasis)

Hang on – this guy has had the best part of ten years to build a prosperous, secure and fair Australia. And we’re still no nearer to it? That’s got to be a sorry disappointment to Howard’s troops, all the parliamentarians who sat through long sitting passing the legislation required to put in place the governments vision – bills such as: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1996;
Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill 1998
;
Criminal Code Amendment Bill 1998
;
Electoral and Referendum Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1998
;
Employment, Education and Training Amendment Bill 1996
;
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Bill 1998
;
Fisheries Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 1998
;
Higher Education Funding Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1996
;
National Environment Protection Measures (Implementation) Bill 1997
;
Reform of Employment Services Bill 1996
;
Reform of Employment Services (Consequential Provisions) Bill 1996
;
Social Security Amendment (Entry Payments) Bill 1997
;
War Crimes Amendment Bill 1998
;
Budget Measures Legislation Amendment (Social Security and Veterans’ Entitlements) 1998
;
A New Tax System (Aged Care Compensation Measures Legislation Amendment) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Australian Business Number Consequential Amendments) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Bonuses for Older Australians) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Closely Held Trusts) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Commonwealth-State Financial Arrangements) 1999E
A New Tax System (Commonwealth-State Financial Arrangements-Consequential Provisions) 1999E
A New Tax System (Compensation Measures Legislation Amendment) 1999
;
A New Tax System (End of Sales Tax) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Family Assistance) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Family Assistance and Related Measures) 2000E
A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Consequential and Related Measures) (No. 1) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Consequential and Related Measures) (No. 2) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Fringe Benefits) 2000
;
A New Tax System (Fringe Benefits Reporting) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax Administration) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax Imposition – Customs) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax Imposition – Excise) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax Imposition – General) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax Transition) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Income Tax Laws Amendment) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Indirect Tax Administration) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Indirect Tax and Consequential Amendments) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Indirect Tax and Consequential Amendments) (No. 2) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition -Customs) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition -Excise) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition -General) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Medicare Levy Surcharge – Fringe Benefits) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Medicare Levy Surcharge -Fringe Benefits) Amendment 2000
;
A New Tax System (Personal Income Tax Cuts) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Pay As You Go) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Tax Administration) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Tax Administration) (No. 1) 2000
;
A New Tax System (Tax Administration) (No. 2) 2000
;
A New Tax System (Trade Practices Amendment) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Trade Practices Amendment) 2000
;
A New Tax System (Ultimate Beneficiary Non-disclosure Tax) (No. 1) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Ultimate Beneficiary Non-disclosure Tax) (No. 2) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Wine Equalisation Tax) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Wine Equalisation Tax and Luxury Car Tax Transition) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Wine Equalisation Tax Imposition – Customs) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Wine Equalisation Tax Imposition – Excise) 1999
;
A New Tax System (Wine Equalisation Tax Imposition – General) 1999
;
Abolition of Compulsory Age Retirement (Statutory Officeholders) 2001
;
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Amendment 2001
;
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection 1998
;
Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (No. 1) 1999
;
Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (No. 2) 2000
;
Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (No. 3) 2000
;
ACIS Administration 1999
;
ACIS (Unearned Credit Liability) 1999
;
Acts Interpretation Amendment 1998
;
Adelaide Airport Curfew 2000
;
Administrative Decisions (Effect of International Instruments) 1999
;
Administrative Review Tribunal 2000
;
Administrative Review Tribunal (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) 2000
;
Aged Care Amendment 2000
;
Aged Care Amendment (Accreditation Agency) 1998
;
Aged Care Amendment (Omnibus) 1999
;
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 1998
;
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 1999
;
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment (No. 2) 1999
;
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 2000
;
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment (Application of Criminal Code) 2001
;
Air Passenger Ticket Levy (Collection) 2001
;
Air Passenger Ticket Levy (Imposition) 2001
;
Aircraft Noise Levy Collection Amendment 2001
;
Airports Amendment 1999
;
Albury-Wodonga Development Amendment 2000
;
Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Account 2001
;
Anti-Personnel Mines Convention 1998
;
Appropriation (No. 1) 1999-2000
;
Appropriation (No. 2) 1999-2000
;
Appropriation (No. 3) 1998-99
;
Appropriation (No. 4) 1998-99
;
Appropriation (No. 3) 1999-2000
;
Appropriation (No. 4) 1999-2000
;
Appropriation (No. 1) 2000-2001
;
Appropriation (No. 2) 2000-2001
;
Appropriation (No. 1) 2001-2002
;
Appropriation (No. 2) 2001-2002
;
Appropriation (No. 3) 2000-2001
;
Appropriation (No. 4) 2000-2001
;
Appropriation (Dr Carmen Lawrence’s Legal Costs) 1999-2000
;
Appropriation (East Timor) 1999-2000
;
Appropriation (HIH Assistance) 2001
;
Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) 1999-2000
;
Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) (No. 2) 1998-99
;
Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) (No. 1) 2001-2002
;
Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) (No. 1) 2000-2001
;
Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) (No. 2) 2000-2001
;
Appropriation (Supplementary Measures) (No. 1) 1999
;
Appropriation (Supplementary Measures) (No. 2) 1999
;
Assistance for Carers Legislation Amendment 1999
;
Australia New Zealand Food Authority Amendment 1999 [No. 2]
Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment 2001
;
Australian Federal Police Legislation Amendment 2000
;
Australian National Training Authority Amendment 1999
;
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (Consequential Amendments) 1998
;
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (Licence Charges) 1998
;
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety 1998
;
Australian Research Council 2001
;
Australian Research Council (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) 2001
;
Australian Securities and Investments Commission 2001
;
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Legislation Amendment 1999
;
Australian Sports Commission Amendment 1999
;
Australian Sports Drug Agency Amendment 1999
;
Australian Tourist Commission Amendment 1999
;
Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation Amendment 1998
;
Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation Amendment (Funding and Wool Tax) 2000
;
Authorised Non-operating Holding Companies Supervisory Levy Determination Validation 2000
;
Aviation Fuel Revenues (Special Appropriation) Amendment 1999
;
Aviation Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 2000
;
Aviation Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 2001
;
Aviation Legislation Amendment (No. 2) 2001
;
Bankruptcy (Estate Charges) Amendment 2001
;
Bankruptcy Legislation Amendment 2001
;
Border Protection 2001
;
Border Protection Legislation Amendment 1999
;
Border Protection (Validation and Enforcement Powers) 2001
;
Bounty (Ships) Amendment 1999
;
Broadcasting Services Amendment (No. 1) 1999
;
Broadcasting Services Amendment (No. 2) 1999
;
Broadcasting Services Amendment (No. 3) 1999
;
Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (No. 2) 2001
;
Broadcasting Services Amendment 2000
;
Broadcasting Services Amendment (Digital Television and Datacasting) 2000
;
Census Information Legislation Amendment 2000
;
Child Support Legislation Amendment 1998
;
Child Support Legislation Amendment 2000
;
Child Support Legislation Amendment 2001
;
Choice of Superannuation Funds (Consumer Protection) 1999
;
Civil Aviation Amendment 2000
;
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (No. 1) 2000
;
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (No. 1) 2001
;
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Charges 1998
;
Coal Industry Repeal 2001
;
Coal Mining Legislation Amendment (Oakdale Collieries and Others) 1999
;
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (No. 1) 2000
;
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment 2001
;
Commonwealth Electoral Legislation (Provision of Information) 2000
;
Commonwealth Grants Commission Amendment 1999
;
Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Amendment 2001
;
Commonwealth Superannuation Board 1998
;
Communications and the Arts Legislation Amendment 2001
;
Communications and the Arts Legislation Amendment (Application of Criminal Code) 2001
;
Compensation for Non-economic Loss (Social Security and Veterans’ Entitlements Legislation Amendment) 1999
;
Compensation (Japanese Internment) 2001
;
Compensation Measures Legislation Amendment (Rent Assistance Increase) 2000
;
Constitution Alteration (Establishment of Republic) 1999
;
Constitution Alteration (Preamble) 1999
;
Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) 2000
;
Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) 2000
;
Copyright Amendment (Parallel Importation) 2001
;
Corporate Law Economic Reform Program 1999
;
Corporate Responsibility and Employment Security 2001
;
Corporations 2001
;
Corporations (Compensation Arrangements Levies) 2001
;
Corporations (Fees) 2001
;
Corporations (Fees) Amendment 2001
;
Corporations (Futures Organisations Levies) 2001
;
Corporations Law Amendment (Employee Entitlements) 2000
;
Corporations (National Guarantee Fund Levies) 2001
;
Corporations (National Guarantee Fund Levies) Amendment 2001
;
Corporations (Repeals, Consequentials and Transitionals) 2001
;
Corporations (Securities Exchanges Levies) 2001
;
Crimes Amendment (Age Determination) 2001
;
Crimes Amendment (Fine Enforcement) 1999
;
Crimes at Sea 2000
;
Criminal Assets Recovery 2000
;
Criminal Assets Recovery 2001
;
Criminal Code Amendment (Application) 2000
;
Criminal Code Amendment (Espionage and Related Offences) 2001
;
Criminal Code Amendment (Theft, Fraud, Bribery and Related Offences) 2000
;
Criminal Code Amendment (United Nations and Associated Personnel) 2000
;
Customs Amendment (No. 1) 2000
;
Customs Amendment (Alcoholic Beverages) 2000
;
Customs Amendment (Warehouses) 1999
;
Customs and Excise Amendment (Diesel Fuel Rebate Scheme) 1999
;
Customs (Anti-dumping Amendments) 1999
;
Customs Depot Licensing Charges Amendment 2001
;
Customs Legislation Amendment (No. 2) 1999
;
Customs Legislation Amendment and Repeal (International Trade Modernisation) 2001
;
Customs Legislation Amendment (Criminal Sanctions and Other Measures) 2000
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 1) 1999
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 2) 1999
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 1) 2000
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 2) 2000
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 3) 2000
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 1) 2001
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 2) 2001
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 3) 2001
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 4) 2001
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 5) 2001
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (ACIS Implementation) 1999
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (Aviation Fuel Revenues) 1999
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (Product Stewardship for Waste Oil) 2000
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (Tradex) 1999
;
Customs Tariff Amendment (Tradex) 1999 [No. 2]
Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Amendment (No. 1) 1999
;
Cybercrime 2001
;
Dairy Adjustment Levy (Customs) 2000
;
Dairy Adjustment Levy (Excise) 2000
;
Dairy Adjustment Levy (General) 2000
;
Dairy Industry Adjustment 2000
;
Dairy Produce Legislation Amendment (Supplementary Assistance) 2001
;
Damage by Aircraft 1999
;
Datacasting Charge (Imposition) Amendment 2000
;
Defence Act Amendment (Victoria Cross) 2001
;
Defence Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 1999
;
Defence Legislation Amendment (Aid to Civilian Authorities) 2000
;
Defence Legislation Amendment (Application of Criminal Code) 2001
;
Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of the Reserves and Modernisation) 2001
;
Defence Legislation Amendment (Flexible Career Practices) 2000
;
Defence (Re-establishment) Amendment 1999
;
Defence Reserve Service (Protection) 2001
;
Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme 1999
;
Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme (Administration and Compliance) 1999
;
Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme Amendment 2000
;
Disability Discrimination Amendment 2001
;
Dried Vine Fruits (Rate of Primary Industry (Customs) Charge) Validation 2001
;
Dried Vine Fruits (Rate of Primary Industry (Excise) Levy) Validation 2001
;
Education Services for Overseas Students 2000
;
Education Services for Overseas Students (Assurance Fund Contributions) 2000
;
Education Services for Overseas Students (Consequential and Transitional) 2000
;
Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment 2000
;
Education, Training and Youth Affairs Legislation Amendment (Application of Criminal Code) 2001
;
Electoral and Referendum Amendment (No. 1) 1999
;
Electoral and Referendum Amendment (No. 1) 2001
;
Electoral and Referendum Amendment (No. 2) 2001
;
Electronic Transactions 1999
;
Employment, Education and Training Amendment 2000
;
Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business Legislation Amendment (Application of Criminal Code) 2001
;
Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment 1999
;
Excise Amendment (Alcoholic Beverages) 2000
;
Excise Amendment (Compliance Improvement) 2000
;
Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 1) 2000
;
Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 1) 2001
;
Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 2) 2001
;
Excise Tariff Amendment (Aviation Fuel Revenues) 1999
;
Excise Tariff Amendment (Crude Oil) 2001
;
Excise Tariff Amendment (Petrol Tax Cut) 2001
;
Excise Tariff Amendment (Petrol Tax Cut) (No. 2) 2001
;
Excise Tariff Amendment (Product Stewardship for Waste Oil) 2000
;
Excise Tariff Amendment (Rural and Regional Infrastructure) Bill 2001
;
Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Amendment 2000
;
Export Market Development Grants Amendment 2001
;
Export Market Development Grants Legislation Amendment 1999
;
Family and Community Services (2000 Budget and Related Measures) 2000
;
Family and Community Services and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Debt Recovery) 2001
;
Family and Community Services and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Further Assistance for Older Australians) 2001
;
Family and Community Services Legislation Amendment 2000
;
Family and Community Services Legislation Amendment (1999 Budget and Other Measures) 1999
;
Family and Community Services Legislation Amendment (New Zealand Citizens) 2001
;
Family and Community Services Legislation Amendment (One-off Payment to the Aged) 2001
;
Family and Community Services Legislation (Simplification and Other Measures) 2001
;
Family Law Amendment 2000
;
Family Law Amendment (Child Protection Convention) 2001
;
Family Law Legislation Amendment (Superannuation) 2001
;
Family Law Legislation Amendment (Superannuation) (Consequential Provisions) 2001
;
Farm Household Support Amendment 1999
;
Farm Household Support Amendment 2000
;
Federal Magistrates 1999
;
Federal Magistrates (Consequential Amendments) 1999
;
Film Licensed Investment Company 1998
;
Finance and Administration Legislation Amendment (Application of Criminal Code) 2001
;
Financial Management and Accountability Amendment 2000
;
Financial Management Legislation Amendment 1999
;
Financial Sector (Collection of Data) 2001
;
Financial Sector (Collection of Data – Consequential and Transitional Provisions) 2001
;
Financial Sector Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 2000
;
Financial Sector Reform (Amendments and Transitional Provisions) (No. 1) 1999
;
Financial Sector Reform (Amendments and Transitional Provisions) (No. 1) 2000
;
Financial Sector (Transfer of Business) 1999
;
Financial Services Reform 2001
;
Financial Services Reform (Consequential Provisions) 2001
;
Fisheries Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 1999
;
Fisheries Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 2000
;
Foreign Affairs and Trade Legislation Amendment (Application of Criminal Code) 2001
;
Fuel Legislation Amendment (Grant and Rebate Schemes) 2001
;
Fuel Sales Grants 2000
;
Fuel Sales Grants (Consequential Amendments) 2000
;
Further 1998 Budget Measures Legislation Amendment (Social Security) 1999
;
Gene Technology 2000
;
Gene Technology (Consequential Amendments) 2000
;
Gene Technology (Licence Charges) 2000
;
General Insurance Reform 2001
;
General Insurance Supervisory Levy Determination Validation 2000
;
General Interest Charge (Imposition) 1999
;
Gladstone Power Station Agreement (Repeal) 2000
;
Governor-General Legislation Amendment 2001
;
Health and Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Application of Criminal Code) 2001
;
Health and Other Services (Compensation) Legislation Amendment 2001
;
Health Insurance Amendment (Professional Services Review) 1999
;
Health Insurance Amendment (Rural and Remote Area Medical Practitioners) 2000
;
Health Insurance (Approved Pathology Specimen Collection Centres) Tax 2000
;
Health Insurance Amendment (Diagnostic Imaging Services) 2000
;
Health Legislation Amendment (No. 2) 1999
;
Health Legislation Amendment (No. 3) 1999
;
Health Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 2001
;
Health Legislation Amendment (No. 2) 2000
;
Health Legislation Amendment (No. 2) 2001
;
Health Legislation Amendment (No. 3) 2001
;
Health Legislation Amendment (No. 4) 1999
;
Health Legislation Amendment (Gap Cover Schemes) 2000
;
Health Legislation Amendment (Medical Practitioners’ Qualifications and Other Measures) 2001
;
Higher Education Funding Amendment 1998
;
Higher Education Funding Amendment 1999
;
Higher Education Funding Amendment 2001
;
Higher Education Funding Amendment (No. 1) 2000
;
Higher Education Legislation Amendment 1999
;
Horticulture Marketing and Research and Development Services 2000
;
Horticulture Marketing and Research and Development Services (Repeals and Consequential Provisions) 2000
;
Human Rights Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 1999
;
Human Rights Legislation Amendment (No. 2) 1999
;
Import Processing Charges 2001
;
Import Processing Charges Amendment 2000
;
Import Processing Charges Amendment (Warehouses) 1999
;
Income Tax Rates Amendment (RSAs Provided by Registered Organizations) 1999
;
Indigenous Education (Supplementary Assistance) Amendment 1999
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Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment 2001
;
Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) 2000
;
Indirect Tax Legislation Amendment 2000
;
Industry Research and Development Amendment 1999
;
Innovation and Education Legislation Amendment 2001
;
Innovation and Education Legislation Amendment (No. 2) 2001
;
Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Border Interception) 1999
;
Intelligence Services 2001
;
Intelligence Services (Consequential Provisions) 2001
;
International Maritime Conventions Legislation Amendment 2001
;
International Monetary Agreements Amendment (No. 1) 2001
;
International Tax Agreements Amendment 1999
;
International Tax Agreements Amendment (No. 1) 2000
;
International Tax Agreements Amendment 2001
;
Interstate Road Transport Amendment 2000
;
Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment 2000
;
Job Network Monitoring Authority 2000
;
Judiciary Amendment 1999
;
Jurisdiction of Courts Legislation Amendment 2001
;
Jurisdiction of Courts (Miscellaneous Amendments) 2000
;
Jurisdiction of Courts Legislation Amendment 2000
;
Jurisdiction of the Federal Magistrates Service Legislation Amendment 2001
;
Law and Justice Legislation Amendment 1999
;
Life Insurance Supervisory Levy Determination Validation 2000
;
Local Government (Financial Assistance) Amendment 2000
;
Maritime Legislation Amendment 2000
;
Marriage Amendment 2001
;
Medicare Levy Amendment (CPI Indexation) 2000
;
Medicare Levy Amendment (CPI Indexation) (No. 1) 2001
;
Medicare Levy Amendment (Defence – East Timor Levy) 2000
;
Migration Agents Registration Application Charge Amendment 2001
;
Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) 2001
;
Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) (Consequential Provisions) 2001
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 2001
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (No. 5) 2001
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (No. 6) 2001
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (Application of Criminal Code) 2001
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (Electronic Transactions and Methods of Notification) 2001
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (Immigration Detainees) 2001
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (Immigration Detainees) (No. 2) 2001
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (Integrity of Regional Migration Schemes) 2001
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (Migration Agents) 2000
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (Overseas Students) 2000
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (Procedural Fairness) 2001
;
Migration Legislation Amendment (Parents and Other Measures) 2000
;
Migration (Visa Application) Charge Amendment 1999
;
Migration (Visa Application) Charge Amendment 2000
;
Ministers of State Amendment 1999
;
Ministers of State and Other Legislation Amendment 2000
;
Motor Vehicle Standards Amendment 1999
;
Motor Vehicle Standards Amendment 2001
;

A New Tax System (Commonwealth-State Financial Arrangements) Amendment 2004;
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Amendment 2004
;
Administrative Appeals Tribunal Amendment 2004
;
Age Discrimination 2004
;
Age Discrimination (Consequential Provisions) 2004
;
Aged Care Amendment 2004
;
Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Amendment 2004
;
Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment (Name Change) 2004
;
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 2004
;
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment (No. 2) 2004
;
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment (Export Control) 2004
;
Anti-terrorism 2004
;
Anti-terrorism (No. 2) 2004
;
Anti-terrorism (No. 3) 2004
;
Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) (No. 1) 2004-2005
Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) (No. 2) 2003-2004
;
Appropriation (No.1) 2004-2005
Appropriation (No. 2) 2004-2005
Appropriation (No. 3) 2003-2004
;
Appropriation (No. 4) 2003-2004
;
Appropriation (No. 5) 2003-2004
;
Appropriation (No. 6) 2003-2004
;
Australian Energy Market 2004
;
Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation 2003
;
Australian Institute of Marine Science Amendment 2004
;
Australian Passports (Application Fees) 2004
;
Australian Passports 2004
;
Australian Passports (Transitionals and Consequentials) 2004
;
Australian Sports Drug Agency Amendment 2004
;
Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions Supervisory Levy Imposition Amendment 2004
;
Authorised Non-operating Holding Companies Supervisory Levy Imposition Amendment 2004
;
Aviation Security Amendment 2004
;
Aviation Transport Security 2004
;
(Previous citation: Aviation Transport Security 2003)
Aviation Transport Security (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) 2004
;
(Previous citation: Aviation Transport Security (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) 2003)
Bankruptcy (Estate Charges) Amendment 2004
;
Bankruptcy and Family Law Legislation Amendment 2004
;
Bankruptcy Legislation Amendment 2004
;
Broadcasting Services Amendment (Anti-Siphoning) 2004
;
Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) 2002 [No. 2]
Building and Construction Industry Improvement 2003
;
Building and Construction Industry Improvement (Consequential and Transitional) 2003
;
Child Support Legislation Amendment 2004
;
Civil Aviation Amendment (Relationship with Anti-discrimination Legislation) 2004
;
Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (Mutual Recognition with New Zealand and Other Matters) 2003
;
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment 2004
;
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Representation in the House of Representatives) 2004
;
Communications Legislation Amendment (No. 1) 2004
;
Corporate Law Economic Reform Program (Audit Reform and Corporate Disclosure) 2004
;
Corporations (Fees) Amendment (No. 1) 2004
;
Crimes Legislation Amendment (Telecommunications Offences and Other Measures) (No. 2) 2004
;
Criminal Code Amendment (Suicide Related Material Offences) 2004
.

So now he’s telling us that none of this worked – that a prosperous, secure and fair Australia still hasn’t been built? Actually, I’d be inclined to agree with him on that. But the first step towards getting it done is to get Howard’s bunch of nation-wreckers out of the way.

Howard’s line on global warming, that domestic prosperity, security and fairness matter more than global warming, will find some sympathy overseas. Not perhaps with our traditional trading partners, the Japanese – Kyoto is in Japan after all – but certainly with the current US Administration and a certain major buyer of our coal (soon to be clean coal) exports:

Despite dire warnings about the effects on China of a warming planet, Beijing’s first official report on climate change flatly rejects international pressure to impose emission limits on its factories and coal-generated power plants as unfair and economically perilous.

“If we prematurely assume responsibilities for mandatory greenhouse-gas emissions reductions, the direct consequence will be to constrain China’s current energy and manufacturing industries,” the report says. “Developing the economy and improving people’s lives remains the country’s primary task.”
(The Age)

Still, we are talking about the <em>current</em> US Administration, which may well be replaced soon. Then – assuming he’s re-elected – John Howard might get his chance for a Chifley moment, and switch our primary international allegiances to a major power whose vision on global warming is more closely aligned with our own.

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Posted in Howardia
77 comments on “About that Speech
  1. H&R says:

    Gliberal 4 Lyfe

  2. Mick Strummer says:

    I think that Little Johnny made an enormous tactical mistake when he said

    But to say that climate change is the overwhelming moral challenge for this generation of Australians is misguided at best; misleading at worst.

    With that one comment he has gratuitously insulted all those Australians who DO view climate change as the overwhelming challenge – moral or not – that is facing the current generation. There is one thing that people do not like, and is being told that they are stupid or wrong, and that is what Honest John has just done. IMHO he has just furthered the liklihood of his electoral demise later this year.
    Cheers…

  3. Pavlov's Cat says:

    There are some intriguing rhetorical moves there. Does anyone know who actually wrote the speech?

  4. Austin says:

    China rejecting targets for CO2 emissions, hey. I wonder where they learnt that bit of rhetoric from.

    Good old Howard. Pushing the “leave it to the poor” line to solve the world’s problems. I’d like to see an example of a problem which has been solved by this approach.

    Victimising China and India will only work on those people who don’t care about the rest of the world. (I hope that isn’t the majority of Australian, but I’m worried given the record of past poll/elections).

  5. grace pettigrew says:

    I agree Mick – that’s the statement of the century so far – and the one that will take him down at the election. To cut to the heart of it, Australian voters care about the future of our children and grandchildren, Howard emphatically does not.

  6. Kim says:

    There are some intriguing rhetorical moves there.

    Care to expand, Dr Cat?

  7. steve says:

    History shows that economic growth and technological change have given mankind not just greater material wealth, but also cleaner air and cleaner water.

    What does climate change denialist mean? No wonder there has been no action to clean up the air and water in the past eleven years..

  8. Dave from Albury says:

    You are right on the money GT. Every word out of Howard’s mouth about the future seems to highlight how little of substance this government has achieved. It doesn’t take much effort to think of nation defining policies from previous administrations, but the cupboard seems bare since ’96.

    In fact, the only substantial thing that Howard has given to Australia was the gun control laws in the wake of Port Arthur, but I have no doubt that without such a catastrophic event this would never have been on his agenda.

    The list of things that Howard has derailed or broken, on the other hand, is quite long. Aboriginal reconciliation, the Republican debate, treatment of refugees, environmental policy, our standing within the UN, education and training, fair and simple taxation, electoral laws and pretty much everything else this cabal have touched has been diminished. Australian society is much poorer for the decisions made in our name by the Howard government.

  9. Christine Keeler says:

    But to say that climate change is the overwhelming moral challenge for this generation of Australians is misguided at best; misleading at worst.

    Well this is just Johnny playing father to the nation isn’t it?

    Sitting in the club chair adjusting his Herald-Sun and warning the teenagers to just be jolly-well careful about all these crazy fashions or you’ll find yourself in strife, and you’d better stay away from that Rudd boy down the road because he’s far too clever for his own good and and a very bad influence and didn’t you know his father was a drunk.

  10. FunkyCheese says:

    yes, madame puss, please tell us about your take on the rhetorical maneouverings.

  11. Guise says:

    Amusingness: the sum total of the PM’s vision for Australia is that we are restored to our rightful place as a solid, middle-class nation. “I have seen the colour of the future,” he says, “and it’s not green. It’s grey.”

  12. steve says:

    In the late 20th Century, indeed at the very end of it, the great genius of our democracy was the ability we found to reform Australia’s economy while not leaving behind those who felt threatened by economic change.

    And I suppose that that would be why ACOSS in the first part of the next century has to recommend this to the Howard Government.

  13. Katz says:

    Old dog = no new tricks:

    But to say that climate change is the overwhelming moral challenge for this generation of Australians is misguided at best; misleading at worst.

    This is tired Howardian bait and switch.

    The distractor here is the word “moral”.

    If Howard can rebrand climate change a “moral” issue, then he can wedge the issue from the point of view of self interest.

    His rhetorical dogwhistle here is:

    Look. Why should a sensible family like yours sacrifice its hard-earned relaxed and comfortable lifestyle for the moral qualms of those lefty, latte-slurping, tree-hugging, pseudo-intellectual, soft, wet, elitists?

    It’s not in your interests to have anything to do with these parasites. You aren’t in a leaky lifeboat, you’re in the Princess Suite on the Aspirational Deck of the good ship Australia Rising.

    Those parasites are lying when they say you’re in a leaky lifeboat. Don’t let the water slurping over the edge fool you. You don’t need their help to bale the water out.

    Chuck them overboard.

    But it’s not going to work. Because the folks are now convinced that they are indeed huddled in a leaky lifeboat. And everyone must work for the common good.

    It’s not a moral issue. It’s an issue of survival.

    But Mr howard is a very clever, groovy, dogwhistling politician.

  14. Katz says:

    PS Gummo,

    That’s a truly Kafkaesque catalogue of legislation.

    Thanks for that.

  15. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Rhetoric. Hm. Well, there’s a rather good flip of personal pronouns in the opening sentence — the segue from ‘My’ to ‘our’, positioning himself as the voice of a united national consciouness.

    Then there’s the appeal to so-called common sense, which is longstanding conservative code for ‘as opposed to those lefty postmodern elites blah blah — they don’t have any sense at all, har har’, and is here further spun by the implication that common sense is an exclusively Australian quality — or at least that we’ve got a special kind of common sense, different from everybody else’s. (Implication: it’s therefore un-Australian to argue anything different, like, say, that ‘common sense’ is the universalising label that any Anglophone dominant culture gives to its own values.)

    ‘Misguided at best, misleading at worst’ is actually a rather clever shift, suggesting that poor old Kevvie has been led victimwise up the garden path by all those doomsayers, but if you put him in charge of the country there’s no telling how bad a leader he’ll turn out to be.

    Ickily, there’s even an appeal to ‘ordinary Australians’, another anti-“elites” phrase you may remember on the lips of a certain redhead around 1996, and one which suggests that the speechwriter was either very young, momentarily asleep at the wheel, or so enamoured of ordinariness (thereby demonstrating that what Patrick White said 50 years ago of immediately postwar Australia, Howard’s favourite time and place in all of human history — ‘It was the exaltation of the “average” that made me panic most’ — still holds) that he couldn’t see anything wrong with Our Pauline’s favourite phrase and decided to use it again.

  16. Kim says:

    Thanks Dr Cat, points incisively and persuasively made.

  17. Christine Keeler says:

    I quite like the eloquent “My speech today is about the future of our nation,” redolent as it is of the average 4th grade “This is a composition about my holidays” introduction and the stale Vegemite sandwiches he’s left in his briefcase.

  18. Guy says:

    I think the key point in there for mine was that there was not a single new idea or policy direction announced as part of the speech.

    I’m not surprised by the rhetoric but I would have hoped for at least one hint of some new initiative from the government. One would have to assume we are just going to be stuck with more of the same policy bumbling if the Howard Government is elected for another term.

  19. Kim says:

    Waiting for the budget bribes and billion dollar spending programs cooked up on the back of an envelope, I imagine.

  20. Christine Keeler says:

    And according to wikipedia there is a new honorific for the PM http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cunt#Others

  21. Sir Henry Casingbroke says:

    Lenny Bruce was right. Young people of today must be told about Mr Howard in the language they understand.

    BTW: I have noticed that the shrillness of the invective emanating from teh right appears to be inversely proportional to Mr Howard’s poll numbers.

    (What is it with those people, laptop in hand they are always blogging in pubs, on buses or building sites, busy, busy, busy… Don’t they ever relax?)

  22. Bridie says:

    There is also the “Lazarus with a triple bypass” reference in “Australia Rising”. The bloke is narcissistic after all.

    And then the very revealing use of the word “moral”. Free association produces “guilt” and “absolution”. It fits perfectly with how Howard thinks. Blackarm band, Aboriginal people, refugees, children overboard, millions of lives obliterated or blighted in Iraq: not your fault, Mr and Mrs Ordinary Australian. Those nasty elitists want you to feel guilty (avoid, reject, hate) but I, John Howard, can do atonement and resurrection and absolution.

    Believe this, keep shopping, and reward me.

  23. John Greenfield says:

    WTF? What on earth is “moral” about the “challenge” of climate change? It is a common garden variety material issue. It’s the economy luvvies! Hullo?

  24. hannah says:

    Just caught the tail end of an SBS report on the Greens and global warming.
    Some powerful images of a poisoned world and a message that we must act now or the cost of the loss will be enormous.
    Howard disagreed.
    Rudd took the middle path.
    Interesting contrast between the platitudes and rhetoric of ‘that’ speech by John and the vision of Milne.
    After John said [paraphrase] that we must cost our policies before we do anything the screen cut to a shot of a city spewing out filth into the air.
    Wonder what line the commercial stations took?

  25. John Greenfield says:

    Pavlov’s Cat

    Oh Jesus, Mary, and Joseph give me strength!

    the segue from ‘My’ to ‘our’, positioning himself as the voice of a united national consciouness.

    Well, pet, what should he have done? Addressed the nation as “the other?”

  26. Enemy Combatant says:

    Trust a brazen hussy like yourself, Christine, to grapple with the aetiological complexities of such a splendid honorific. Like the way you mix scholarly endeavour with prurient pursuit for the enlightenment and amusement of all. Just the ticket when one is having a dead-set Howard of a day.

  27. Katz says:

    Greengrass’s diatribe:

    WTF? What on earth is “moralâ€? about the “challengeâ€? of climate change? It is a common garden variety material issue. It’s the economy luvvies! Hullo?

    Hello yourself.

    The only person on this thread applying the word “moral” to “climate change” (aka global warming) is The Rodent.

    Utterly predictably, The Rodent has constructed a strawman.

    And utterly predictably, Greengrocer has … well you know the rest, me lovelies.

  28. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Well, pet, what should he have done? Addressed the nation as “the other?â€?

    Ah, the voice of common sense; wherever would we be without it. Good to have you with us, Poopsie.

    I wasn’t suggesting he should have done anything in particular (though since you ask, the definite article, ie the word “the”, would have done just fine in both cases); I was responding to a request, and analysing rhetorical strategies I found interesting, as per said request. If you don’t think the careful choice of words is an important part of political speechwriting, then by all means don’t let me disturb you and your big plastic bubble.

  29. I think that Little Johnny made an enormous tactical mistake when he said

    But to say that climate change is the overwhelming moral challenge for this generation of Australians is misguided at best; misleading at worst.

    Mick, that was Howard the Burkean Conservative speaking.

    As you may recall, in his Address to the Electors of Bristol, when he gave them a good telling off for expecting him to get down to Bristol to canvas their opinions when he was busy representing them in Parliament, the business of an elector is to pick a representative andthen let them get on with the representing.

    Mr Howard knows better than the rest of us, when it comes to global warming, just as Mr Burke knew better than the electors of Bristol did what their interests were and how they should be represented.

    Of course, in Burke’s case, he’d paid a pretty penny for the right to represent Bristol – or his patron had paid it for him. So one can understand his sense of entitlement.

  30. professor rat says:

    When’s the debate?
    I want to see his Condi flying monkee wings flapping again.

    Shadenfreude is a beautiful thing.

  31. rogs says:

    yes howards done so well. why only this year, while he’s supposedly been on watch, he’s managed to lose 40 percent of australian agriculture AND the whole snowy mountains hydroelectric scheme

    one more loss like that and we’ll have to conclude its carelessness

  32. Bridie says:

    Howard’s consciously guilt-negating guff about the secondary significance of climate change as opposed to sound economic management is directed towards, well everyone really. It’s a message that has traction. Psychoanalytic theory has long being used to great effect in sales, advertising and politics and Howard seems to have an instinctive understanding of psychological manipulation and how to elicit the worst from human psyches.

    How many readily accept either as individuals or citizens that everyone bears some responsibility for the climactic state of things and are prepared to act on that?

    On a subjective level, the environmental challenge posed to each and every one and communities of every definition is beyond human comprehension and deeply frighening.

    Howard’s message, that concern about climate change is simply wrongheaded, therefore by definition secondary and unnecessary is comforting short term but ultimately fatal. But history is bunk, right? Including prospectively. It is all pretty simple really.

  33. steve says:

    Another thing missing from the speech was the starting date for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Afterall the US Senate has already done this so why the stubbornness?

  34. mick says:

    Beautiful post Gummo.

  35. Sir Henry Casingbroke says:

    While on his morning walk, Prime Minister John Howard falls over,has a heart attack and dies because the accident and emergency ward at his nearest hospital is too understaffed to treat him in time.

    So his soul arrives in Heaven and he is met by Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates.

    “Welcome to Heaven,” says Saint Peter, “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a Liberal around these parts, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

    “No problem, just let me in; I’m a good Christian; I’m a believer,” says the PM.

    “I’d like to just let you in, but I have orders from God Himself. He says that since the implementation of his new HEAVENCHOICES policy, you have to spend one day in Hell and one day in Heaven. Then you must choose where you’ll live for eternity.”

    “But I’ve already made up my mind. I want to be in Heaven,” replies Howard.

    “I’m sorry … but we have our rules,” Peter interjects. And, with that, St. Peter escorts him to a lift and he goes down, down, down … all the way to Hell.

    The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a lush golf course. The sun is shining in a cloudless sky. The temperature is a perfect 22C degrees. In the distance is a beautiful club-house.

    Standing in front of it is Bob Menzies and thousands of other Liberals luminaries who had helped him out over the years —Harold Holt, John Gorton, Bill McMahon, Billy Snedden, etc. And everyone is laughing, happy, and casually but expensively dressed.

    They run to greet him, and to reminisce about the good times they had getting rich at the expense of ‘suckers and peasants.’ They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster and caviar.

    The Devil himself comes up to Howard with a single malt, “Have a drink John and relax!”

    Seeing his hesitancy, the Devil reassures Howard.

    “This is Hell, son. You can drink and eat all you want and not worry and it just gets better from there!”

    Howard takes the drink and finds himself liking the Devil, who he thinks is a really very friendly cove who tells amusing anecdotes like and pulls hilarious nasty pranks, kind of like the ones the Liberals pulled with the GST and the Free Trade Agreement promises.

    They are having such a great time that, before he realises it, it’s time to go.

    Everyone gives him a big hug and waves as Howard steps into the lift and heads upward.

    When the elevator door reopens, he is in Heaven again and Saint Peter is waiting for him. “Now it’s time to visit Heaven,” the old man says, opening the gate.

    So for 24 hours Howard is made to hang out with a bunch of honest, good-natured people who enjoy each other’s company, talk about things other than money and treat each other decently. Not a nasty prank or short-arse joke among them.

    No fancy country clubs here and, while the food tastes great, it’s not caviar or lobster. And these people are all poor. He doesn’t see anybody he knows and he isn’t even treated like someone special.

    “Whoa,” he says uncomfortably to himself. “Bob Menzies never prepared me for this!”

    The day done, Saint Peter returns and says, “Well, you’ve spent a day in Hell and a day in Heaven. Now choose where you want to live for eternity.”

    With the ‘Deal or No Deal’ theme playing softly in the background, Howard reflects for a minute . then answers: “Well, I would never have thought I’d say this — I mean, Heaven has been delightful and all — but I really think I belong in Hell with my friends.”

    So Saint Peter escorts him to the lift again and he goes down, down, down, all the way to Hell.

    The doors of the elevator open and he is in the middle of a barren scorched earth covered with garbage and toxic industrial wasteland.

    He is horrified to see all of his friends, dressed in rags and chained together. They are groaning and moaning in pain, faces and hands black with tar.

    The Devil comes over to Howard and puts an arm around his shoulder. “I don’t understand,” stammers a shocked Howard, “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a club-house and we ate lobster and caviar and drank single malt whisky. We lazed around and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and everybody looks miserable!”

    The Devil looks at him, smiles slyly and purrs, “Yesterday we were campaigning; today you voted for us!”

  36. Enemy Combatant says:

    Top that if you can, Mike Carlton. Sir Henry’s on a roll.

  37. Christine Keeler says:

    From Lucky Phil at Surfdom: http://www.roadtosurfdom.com/2007/04/17/management-howard-style/

    Reminds me of the time Howard and Costello went to an outback pub to drum up a few votes. In they walk in their akubras and RM williams gear and take up a spot at the bar near a sleeping blue heeler. Every now and then people would come into the bar go over to the dog, lift up its tail and then walk out. Intrigued by this Howard eventually asks one what they’re doing.

    In a slow western drawl he replied “Old Bill told me there was a dog in ‘ere with two aresholes…….

  38. Nabakov says:

    I’ll buy that one for a dollar, Sir Henry.

    Having now trudged through the ‘Australia Rising’ transcript, yes it did strike me too as being utterly devoid of any solid suggestions for how Aus could…um..rise. The reviews aren’t good either, are they.

    The Government is sitting on a very tasty election war chest. It couldn’t have hurt Howard to make at least one concrete and costed promise of some real nation-building import.

    And yes, as others have pointed out here, after over ten years, Howard could at least to point to some tangible example of how he’s inflated the place so far. Or least spruiked his economic management in a more fungible context, which to be fair, has been OK, on a par with a well run suburban bank branch. Just a shame for him and the rest of us that the Commonwealth of Australia is not really comparable to the NAB on High Street, Bennelong.

  39. grace pettigrew says:

    My recollection is that it was Rudd who last week first posited global warming as a the “greatest moral challenge”. Many commentators on the blogosphere at the time cavilled about the word “moral”. Is global warming a moral issue?

    In my view it is. Either we are selfish individuals who vote only for our immediate self interest (Howard’s Way, and so much for “family values”), or we share a national interest and need to pull together because its the right thing to do for our children’s future (now that’s real “family values”).

    It was also a smart political tactic on Rudds part to invite Howard onto the moral high ground (what should we be doing?), rather than playing on Howard’s territory, the economy (how much is it going to cost?). That is, Rudd set the terms of the debate, and Howard took the bait.

    Howard made the decision to respond emphatically in his speech to Rudd’s assertion on what is “moral” (its the economy stupid) and has now pinned his government onto the butt end of a donkey.

  40. rog says:

    There are plenty who have said that climate change is a “moral” issue eg

    Al Gore
    Gordon Brown
    David Attenborough
    Nicholas Stern
    Archbishop of Canterbury
    Kevin Rudd…

    …all strawmen

  41. steve says:

    SHC your story was brilliant and reminds me of the old story;

    ‘The Three Rooms of Hell’

    An immoral, selfish, dishonest and climate change denialist, John Howard dies, and goes straight to hell. There, he meets the Devil himself.

    “Okay,” says Satan. “Here’s the drill. I’m going to show you three rooms, and you must choose which room you are to spend all of eternity in. Make sense?”
    Howard said that he understood, and they proceeded to the first room. It was a massive dungeon -like room, with gray brick walls and a cement floor. As far as the eye could see, millions upon millions of damned souls stood on their heads and were obviously in agony.
    “That’s horrifying!” said Howard. “Take me to the next room.”

    The second room was exactly as the first, except that here, the cement floor was a bed of sharp nails and broken glass. The damned souls stood on their heads and were obviously in agony.
    “That’s even more horrifying than the first room!” cried Howard. “Show me the last room.”

    Satan brought Howard to the final room. It was just as huge as the other two, but here, the damned souls stood up to their necks in piles of feces. They ate donuts and drank coffee, and chatted amongst themselves.
    “Hey, this isn’t too bad!” exclaimed the man. “I’ve been in deep shit before! Devil, I choose this room.”

    “As you wish,” said the Devil, and left Howard with his henchmen. The former Liberal Prime Minister stood in his shit pile, and had just been handed his coffee and a donut when the Devil re-entered the room, blew a whistle and said, “Coffee break’s over, folks. Back on your heads!”

  42. grace pettigrew says:

    Thanks for the reminder Rog, of course.

    But Rudd had the guts to pick it up and run with it in the local political arena. For that he deserves credit – attacking one of Howard’s so-called “strengths” – the whole moral values debate whick Howard likes to think he owns.

    And it was an immediate tactical winner too, given Howard’s hasty rise.

  43. Chris says:

    John Greenfield, please note the following comments made by Howard during hus speech.

    “To me, the moral challenge of our time is not vastly different from the challenge earlier generations faced. It’s to build a prosperous, secure and fair Australia – a confident nation at ease with the world and with itself.”

    “This [argument in favour of economic growth] is not simply an economic argument. It lies at the heart of our quest for a better society. Ultimately, it is a moral argument that bears on what I call the human dividend of economic growth.

    It’s a moral argument because of what growth means for a fair and decent society.”

    Now if economic growth and prosperity are such profound moral goods then surely it is not unreasonable to call climate change, which threatens economic growth and prosperity, a moral challenge.

  44. steve says:

    Heard Howard arguing on ABC radio in Brisbane yesterday that ‘operational reasons’ was the same under the old system as under Workchoices. Lying again apparently.

  45. Snorky says:

    Thanks for this post and all the comments. Love them all (almost). I’m a bit surprised that nobody has mentioned the bit of the sermon about terrorism being with us for the indefinite future. A consoling thought from our Dear Leader if ever there was one. But also an example par excellence of his appeal to fear – perhaps his signature tactic. Bridie said it well: ‘Howard seems to have an instinctive understanding of psychological manipulation and how to elicit the worst from human psyches.’

  46. Katz says:

    John Howard resided in Hell for some time. He was confined to many of those rooms strewn with broken glass, spent time upturned in lakes of ordure, etc.

    But something began to bother him. Clearly, even here in Hell, in the region of eternal torment, the namby pamby, pomo, liberal elites had exerted their baleful influence.

    One day, while temporarily upright in Shit Lagoon, Howard expostulated:

    “Where are the traditional, common sense, Methodist values of Hell? Broken glass, pools of sewage? This just isn’t right. How can Hell be Hell if Satan has a sense of humour?”

    Now it so happens that many of Howard’s fellow faeces wallowers on that day were ex-members of the Liberal Party. And they could not but agree with Wee Johnny. Immediately, they formed a faction. And over a period of time (which may or may not be a long time during eternity), they grew their faction. They even signed up some junior demons.

    And on an appointed day, Satan (who bore a remarkable resemblance to Alexander Downer, except that he didn’t wear drag) was overthrown in an Infernal leadership spill.

    Thenceforward, Howard was Satan, the overlord of the damned.

    With enormous diligence and patience Howard set about to restore Hell to its medieval glory. Shit-skiing demons were redeployed with brand-new pitchforks. Initially they regarded the whole thing as slightly recherche. But soon enough they got used to the new regime.

    In the fullness of time (again are rather mysterious concept in the context of eternity) Howard’s task was accomplished.

    The damned were thoroughly damned and there was absolutely no rest for the wicked.

    Howard, from the prominence of his skull-bedecked throne looked down on his work and was satisfied.

    “Never again need we in Hell apologise to elitist opinion and politically correct sentiment. Now all in Hell, both tormentors and the tormented, are entitled to feel relaxed and comfortable about our faithful allegiance to hellish values.

    “And that very definitely is a core promise.”

  47. Ms Keeler, I am reminded – somewhat belatedly – of the coining, by feminist humorists in the late Seventies of the splendid gender-neutral term “genitalroach”.

  48. Mick Strummer says:

    Howard as the devil presiding in Hell – “We’ll decide who goes to Hell and the circumstances in which they go…”
    Cheers…

  49. Christine Keeler says:

    Heh, Gummo!

    Actually the honorific has been temporarily removed from Wiki, but I’ll rectify that later. All the same, though, I think it would be a most appropriate name for the PMs official retirement cottage.

  50. Brian says:

    Grace, I seem to remember Rudd talking about climate change as a moral issue. He certainly didn’t walk away from it in responding to Howard’s speech. If I sat here long enough I reckon I could come up with an argument to say there is a moral dimension to everything, but in the case of CC three main things come to mind.

    First is that we made merry on cheap fossil energy with no regard for the negative impact on subsequent generations. Once we could clain ignorance, but no longer.

    Second our actions on global warming are a large factor in what will be known as the great Holocene extinction of species.

    Third, the rich people use the fossil energy but the poor will suffer more of the harm.

    That’s for starters.

  51. Kim says:

    Paul Kelly seems to think Howard has pulled off some sort of political masterstroke:

    JOHN Howard has drawn his line in the political sand. He has staked his future on rejection of the proposition that climate change is the overwhelming moral challenge for this generation.

    Howard could not be more emphatic. He has repudiated the rich world’s most popular political fashion and the credo embraced in Australia by the Labor Party, the Greens, the Stern report, much of the scientific community and influential sections of the media.

    He doesn’t buy the climate change crusade. He rejects the moral absolutes that infect the public policy debate about climate change. And he will maximise the difference between himself and Kevin Rudd on this issue.

    http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/paulkelly/index.php/theaustralian/comments/howard_stakes_a_contrary_course/

    Sounds like head in the sand stuff to me. And I don’t think people buy this ridiculous dichotomy between “the economy” and “the environment” – as if the first doesn’t depend on the second.

  52. Brian says:

    Flannery thinks climate change is a moral issue. It’s an “issue of intergenerational equity”, he says.

    Also he has a recommendation for us as to who should be PM.

  53. Brian says:

    Kim, maybe Kelly is just calling it as it is. Howard is upping the ante by putting climate change on the APEC agenda. There was an article in the Fin Review saying that he wanted to expand the AP6 initiative to take in the whole of APEC as a serious challenge to the Europeans for the “new Kyoto”.

    Funnily enough some don’t see climate change as an economic issue and hence not an APEC issue.

    Also not everyone in APEC will welcome AP6 because India is involved and they don’t want India in APEC.

  54. Kim says:

    I think, Brian, he’s just thrashing around looking for anything that will fit his political narrative. It’s hard to be other than very disillusioned when considering his actions in this area.

  55. John Greenfield says:

    Well any attempt to address climate change that is not an initiative of, and led by, AP6 is irrelevant. AP6 is made up the overwhelming majority of the world’s population and its primary polluters.

  56. steve says:

    Surely what Howard says in this speech and the line Kelly is pushing makes no sense especially in light of this. There it is: climate change, targets with economic modelling to decide the best option of economically reducing Green House Gases.

    All the left parties have to do to counter his argument is get their policies independently accessed by firms that do economic modelling so they don’t leave themselves open to the Howard hysteria of, what is the cost?

    Howard can not sustain this argument despite what Kelly wants us to believe.

  57. Kelly, like a lot of our current crop of political commentators is basically too lazy to look at the substance. The argument, as always, is that Howard’s smoke will prove too dense, and his mirrors too flashy for Kevin Rudd to win the next election.

    Meanwhile, in the wings, Howards assistant, the Amazing Costello, is busily stuffing his top hat with budget bunnies.

  58. swio says:

    For a speach about Howard’s vision for the future it was noticably lacking in the vision bit.

    If I could sum it up it would be is that Howard’s vision for the future is the last decade all over again.

    The only things he seemed to say in the speech were
    * economic growth is good
    * global warming is a low priority
    * Labour is bad

    Its best understood by looking at his response to Kevin Rudd’s talk about human capital.

    On human capital, at COAG I put on the table $100 million to tackle diabetes, to be matched collectively by the states.

    That’s the sum total of his policies on human capital in the speech. A no brainer health initiative. Then he spends the rest of the time allocated to human capital bagging Labour’s educational credentials.

    I guess the problem is that he spent so much time criticising Labour’s policies and ideas he forgot to include any new ones of his own. At the moment its Rudd with broadband and early childhood intervention and Howard with nothing new.

  59. steve says:

    Gummo, it seems the bunnies are already out of the top hat and the pork is heading out to prop up the rural constituency which has been overusing water supplies.

  60. derrida derider says:

    What a piss-poor, boring speech that was. Content aside, I reckon I (and many of the other commentators in the blogosphere) could have done a better job for him – he should sack his speechwriter.

  61. philip travers says:

    John Howard has decided that he is his own man.The parts of the speech I heard meant nothing to me,I dont even feel the necessity to ignore by joke making.It was just another series of English expressions not found in 1950s dunnies.

  62. steve says:

    Seems Howard has been caught on the hop again. Advance Australia Fair Indeed!

  63. Hang on – the AIRC was what was left after the Hawke Government gutted the Arbitration and Conciliation Commission. So now that gets gutted and “Fair Work Australia” takes its place.

    Interesting. Forget reform – the new politics of the 21st century is all about rebranding.

  64. Pavlov's Cat says:

    What a piss-poor, boring speech that was. Content aside, I reckon I (and many of the other commentators in the blogosphere) could have done a better job for him – he should sack his speechwriter.

    DD, that’s why I asked way up-thread if anyone knew who it was. I find it rather curious that nobody seems to, and an odd contrast with Don Watson’s or Graham Freudenberg’s well-known roles writing speeches for the frighteningly articulate Keating and Whitlam respectively; maybe both were sufficiently secure in their own rhetorical gifts not to feel that their speechwriters needed to be kept anonymous. But with Howard it’s almost as if he expects the punters to believe that he’s making up his own speeches as he goes along.

    Wasn’t Greg Melleuish (apologies if I have misspelled that) speechwriting for him a while back?

  65. Brian says:

    Well any attempt to address climate change that is not an initiative of, and led by, AP6 is irrelevant. AP6 is made up the overwhelming majority of the world’s population and its primary polluters.

    John G, the thing about AP6 is that four of them, including India and China, are already signed up to Kyoto, which India and China are getting plenty out of. The US almost certainly will sign after Bush goes to history’s dustbin, leaving our bloke if he’s still around like a shag on a rock.

    Kim, I think that Howard is groping Magoo-like towards a viable policy, taking pot shots at the Europeans as he goes, as is his wont. Howard’s “rising” is maybe about the rising waters at Kirribilli but more likely the rising support for Rudd and the Labor Party.

    All I’m saying is that I’m not sure Paul Kelly thinks Howard’s play is a masterstroke, but in the end it doesn’t much matter what Kelly thinks.

  66. Brian says:

    Steve, re that ABARE report you linked to in your comment I worked out that if we reduce emissions by 50% of 1990 levels while the rest of the world increases theirs by 46% (scenario 2d) we’ll end up roughly twice as wealthy as we are now with a per capita GDP of $85,000 (2005 dollars).

    Sounds like a disaster (not).

  67. Steve says:

    PC, according to Greg there are three pages of conservative thought left in Australia. Don’t know if he is the current speechwriter or not.

    Brian, I just can not see how anybody can think they will get away with arguing that climate change and economic Groth are mutually exclusive. The whole concept is insane and this speeech just confirms the Libs have no idea.

  68. Thanks for the link Steve. I especially like the last sentence of the section on Burkean conservatism:

    Finally, the Australian people have demonstrated Burkean ‘prejudice’ in their judicious evaluation of the need for change when asked to vote in referenda, including and especially the 1999 republican referendum, on changing the constitution.

    That use of quotation marks to suggest that Burkean ‘prejudice’ should be distinguished from the kind we usually mean when we use the word – one whose praises Burke sings in a certain passage of his Rantings on the French Revolution reminds me of a certain device Derrida employed in On Grammatology. Perhaps the task of the next generation of conservative intellectuals will be to explicate the differance between Burkean prejudice and prejudice.

  69. j_p_z says:

    Brian: ” the rich people use the fossil energy but the poor will suffer more of the harm. That’s for starters.”

    Way too simple. Another way (among many) of stating the same case would be, A bunch of people used the fossil energy to create vast and previously non-existent wealth, massively and imaginatively raising the material standards of human well-being (and transforming themselves into “TEH rich”); and they also ‘used the energy’ to create head-spinning technological, medical, and agricultural innovations, the advantages of which they largely shared with the ‘poor’ (you could also read as, less imaginative) on an international scale. This could conceivably have made global poverty a fossil of human existence. But instead the poor then took this incredible unearned windfall and, rather than using it to become non-poor, simply used it to quadruple their numbers, roughly every thirty years or so, thus ensuring that poverty will be with us humans for a very long time to come. Thanks, guys, you did us proud.

    THAT’s for starters. I’m not anti-poor people, but I am pro-accuracy. And if we’re all going to march joyously into the future on an ostensibly ‘equal’ phenomenological footing, then *some* of us (by which I mean “most” of us) seem to need to have a bit of fookin’ common sense knocked into our noggins. To paraphrase Mistah Orwell, All animals are awake, but some are apparently more awake than others.

  70. Christine Keeler says:

    the advantages of which they largely shared with the ‘poor’ (you could also read as, less imaginative)…

    In which j_p_z demonstrates the poverty of his own thinking…

  71. steve says:

    JPZ amazing that you seem to have finally woken up to what baby bonuses and unevenly distributed tax cuts from the Howard Government really mean and how ludicrous this Government is.

  72. steve says:

    My favorite speechwriter is still this South Australian.
    Greed has no bounds for some people.

  73. Sir Henry Casingbroke says:

    Paul Kelly, as usual, is talking through his pompous arse. Here is an example of a hack, none too bright, who has started to believe his own bullshit.

    Kelly is wrong. There was nothing clever about Howard’s speech. It was the old “of course he WOULD say that, wouldn’t he” line.

    Fact is, it doesn’t matter what Howard says now. Because nobody believes him, and even if he turned into Cicero overnight, it still wouldn’t make any difference. The punters have already made up their mind about presenting the Rodent with a pink slip. And about time.

  74. Brian says:

    j_p_z, different value perspective, different mindset, different story. A debate for another time.

    The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation warns that in some forty poor, developing countries, with a combined population of two billion…[crop] production losses due to climate change may drastically increase the number of undernourished people, severely hindering progress in combating poverty and food insecurity. (Cited in George Monbiot’s ‘Heat’)

    I was thinking of these ‘less imaginative’ people who didn’t choose their place of birth more carefully. Also the less robust infrastructure subject to stronger and more frequent storms in some parts of the world.

    Not to mention a bunch of drowning Pacific islands and the odd river delta here and there, like Bangla Desh and Vietnam.

    I thought also of the less imaginative and less awake types who found themselves living in a ditch when the levies broke in New Orleans, but I decided not to go there. After all no science can prove whether global warming had anything to do with Hurricane Katrina, although logic and commonsense says it did.

  75. j_p_z says:

    Brian — well you’ve certainly got a good point, and I wasn’t trying to suggest that one ought to be thoughtless or unconcerned about these potential catastrophes. These are certainly serious problems, and need to be addressed with clarity and vigor.

    More to my point (which in fairness was not particularly clear, being carried way downstream on a current of sarcasm) was that in searching for those very solutions, the narrative of TEH EVIL RICH using their heartless technology to deprive TEH NOBLE POOR (who are, in these tellings, always curiously devoid of agency) is not only unhelpful, it’s also rather inaccurate and misleading. And problems are generally better solved by accuracy than by the machinations of interested parties. Witness Iraq, where accuracy went straight out the window so early in the game. One could give numerous examples, but it would be tedious.

    “I was thinking of these ‘less imaginative’ people who didn’t choose their place of birth more carefully. Also the less robust infrastructure subject to stronger and more frequent storms in some parts of the world.”

    Not to quarrel, but these two sentences go some distance to illustrate a bit of what I’m on about, in more than a few ways. But as you say, it’s a topic for a different conversation.

    CK — “the poverty of his own thinking…” Well, as Hong Kong Phooey used to say, “Hmmm, *could be*!” I try never to rule out the possibility that I’m being an idiot, and if so, how; it’s one of the reasons one converses with folks, instead of carving solitary manifestos onto a park bench with a pen-knife. On the other hand, not that anything I’ve said is of a completeness, and I wouldn’t claim it was; still, which is the part that isn’t at least somewhat true?

  76. Christine Keeler says:

    …it’s one of the reasons one converses with folks, instead of carving solitary manifestos onto a park bench with a pen-knife

    Oh there you go, making unwarranted criticisms of my life’s work again.

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