June 10, 2004


Who will you vote for in the upcoming Australian federal election ... and why? US readers are also invited to comment.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 10, 2004 06:18 AM

I will vote liberal. While I support the reconstruction of Iraq into a democracy, this is not the main reason. the libs get my vote because i beleive they will steal less of my income to redistribute to welfare leaches, and they provide more incentive to business growth, which leads to more jobs and economic growth. They also encourage less government regulation - I can't stand funding useless beuracrats on my tax dollar!

Posted by: Josh at June 10, 2004 at 07:10 AM

As a U.S. reader, my only comment is that I hope other U.S. readers don't post anything utterly clueless.

Posted by: Ash at June 10, 2004 at 07:19 AM

I posted this comment on Tim Dunlap's site (please feel free to ignore the beginning of the post):

Nabakov wrote:

"Scott, you're yer own worst arguement.

"Your illiterate, incoherent and factually incorrect diatribe just confirms my opinion Iím the side of the angels here."

Ignoring Nabakov's self correction of "I'm ON the side . . . ," and ignoring the quaint "yer," he still manages to make at least two other errors in a two-sentence criticism of Scott's "illiterate" comment. As a Yank, I could be mistaken, but in our hemisphere, we spell the word "argument" without only one "e." Then there is Nabakov's second sentence, which could have read, "Your illiterate, incoherent and factually incorrect diatribe just confirms my opinion THAT Iím ON the side of the angels here." Alternatively, it could have been, "Your illiterate, incoherent and factually incorrect diatribe just confirms my opinion. Iím ON the side of the angels here."

Now that that's cleared up, some opinion. Many, but sadly not most, Americans are acutely aware of Australia's valuable assistance in toppling Saddam Hussein and the Taliban. Of course, many more Americans would know about Australia's assistance if any Australians had been killed by an IED or found to have wielded a leash at Abu Ghraib, but thankfully, neither has taken place. Most of these same Americans are sorely disappointed that a long steadfast ally (Canada) has not helped in the same way in Iraq, as we view Australia and Canada as important members of the British-created, American-developed Anglosphere. Despite what some of the commentors think, the Anglosphere countries share many of the same values and, working together, have and can continue to be a strong force for good in the world. To us, the success of the nations of the Anglosphere is more than just luck and abundant resources. There is a strong sense that the foundations laid by our English forebears have allowed us to establish free, open, democratic and successful market economies that advance the prosperity of our citizens and serve as examples for people from other countries. All of our countries are relatively welcoming of immigrants and are better for our lack of homogeneity. We are also imperfect countries, but then there are no perfect countries, and to my mind, no countries more perfect than ours.

About the elections, I have no sensitivity to Australian politics. I hope Mr. Howard is elected because he seems to be a good and honorable man who understands that the Islamofascists mean us all harm. On the U.S. front, I will again be casting my vote for W., as I do not trust John Kerry as far as I could throw his hair. I am convinced that he is not a man who will act strongly or boldly in defense of America, and I think that it the most important challenge facing the U.S. and the world.

Thanks for letting me rant.

Posted by: Tibor at June 10, 2004 at 07:44 AM

Do you guys have Liberal party bumper stickers (or John Howard) or whatnot down there? I'd happily pay a few bucks for postage and whatnot, or exchange for some Join Arnold or George W. Bush stuff.


Posted by: Andrew at June 10, 2004 at 07:56 AM

Unfortunately, if I'm half as informed about Aussie politics as you are about US politics, then you're twice as informed as I. Seriously, I don't have enough info about Aussie politics to have an intelligent opinion, though whatever party promotes the former singer of Midnight Oil has got to suck. I just keep on buying Aussie wine in lieu of the French varieties and wait for November.

Posted by: JohnO at June 10, 2004 at 08:00 AM

John Howard is the man for me and a big hearty thanks to all you mates who supported us in Iraq. Regards

Posted by: EddieP at June 10, 2004 at 08:07 AM

Aussie wines are big in our household, too.

The local liquor store guy (a South African) keeps them prominently displayed up front along with New York State wines which are actually fairly decent. The frog sauce is still there but he says that the Aussie is doing great business; good stuff, very good price.

I would vote for Australia's Liberal Party as I like what I know about John Howard (seems like a regular guy with a common touch and strong principles; sound economics as well).

Further, I could then inform my liberal friends that I too vote Liberal and be recieved back in their good graces while secretly chortling to myself "suckers!"

Posted by: JDB at June 10, 2004 at 08:19 AM

I'll be voting for Howard again. Putting Latham in charge of a country and its economy is scaring me more and more everyday.

I talk to my friends, and a lot of them are ambivalent.

I say, "I think Latham's crazy."

They say, "Yeah, well, Howard's boring."

I say, "Would you rather a boring old man or a lunatic in charge?"

The conversation ends there. And they nod.

Posted by: Quentin George at June 10, 2004 at 08:32 AM

I'm torn.

I'm tempted to go for the Latham/Garrett ticket. If Mark could get Rachel Griffiths, Claudia Carvan and John Butler to stand he'd have me for sure.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at June 10, 2004 at 08:49 AM

There was never any danger of me voting for Latham and after the "leadership" he is displaying with this Garrett debacle I hope that others will do the same. I shudder to think of that freak as environment minister, I mean that is the only reason he is signing up dont you think?

Posted by: Rob at June 10, 2004 at 08:59 AM

I'm a Yank, so my opinion is not as solidly informed as it is for the US elections.

Still, I'd vote for Mr. Howard. He's honest and intelligent.

Of course, if Tim or CurrencyLad ran, I'd vote for him!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 10, 2004 at 09:11 AM

I've always been a swinging voter, not that it matters much in my electorate right now. The site you linked to asked the follwoing questions, so it seems fair to use them as a basis for an answer:

1. Is John Howard's close relationship with the Bush administration a net positive or negative?
A. A very significant and antionally vital positive. The MUTUAL importance of this relationship is very large, and it also acts as a major regional stabilising force. Without a close relationship like this, both nations would have to spend more on the military (I am in the Australian military), and in Australia's case we are talking of doubling that funding to get the same levels of security. While I've been a military type since 1978, I also know that this is (like all insurance policy premiums) dead money - until you really need it.

2. Does the obvious hostility between the Bush administration and Australia's Labor opposition concern you?
A. The question is false. Certainly, Bush and Blair are doing what little they can to assist Howard (and vice versa), but this is very marginal. What IS obvious is that the ALP Opposition has dug itself in to a very deep anti-American hole and is unwilling to clamber out of it. Latham's extraordinary personal attacks on the US President are, I believe, without parallel in our parliamentary record. Therefore he seems to place personal venting above national interest. This alone - even a faint suspicion of this - disqualifies him from my vote, because this is dangerously stupid. A politician does NOT destroy options in advance of policy where my nation is concerned!

3. Is the state of the relationship (US-Australia) important enough to sway your vote at the federal election?
A. Yes. Absolutely. This is THE critical Australian strategic relationship. Therefore it represents the most fundamental business of government. The reason we have centralised government and not tribe-and-clan is to prevent rude strangers from turning up and kicking over the applecart, screwing the missus and nicking the horse. When Latham screws with this, he is playing silly-buggers with the basic reason we tolerate central government in the first place, thus clearly illustrating that he not only does not know what the hell he is doing at the personal level, but at the level of his basic understanding of government function!

4. Do you think, now that the dust has settled, that US-Australia relationship was the main reason for our involvement in the action in Iraq?
A. No, the question is utter tripe. This is a canard of our dear lefty mates who are all blather and no brain (hi, Phil Adams and Al Ramsey!), and I rarely hear rational argument based on logic from them (practising and serious Marxists being a very honourable exception). The Australian government responded rationally to a series of attacks which also deliberately targetted Australians. We need to remember that Al Qaeda had us on their hit list from well before 11 Sep 01, said they were gunning for us, and has done so consistently since. Over 100 Australians have been killed by this declared enemy. The lefty head-in-the-sand brigade choose to ignore this inconvenient fact. How is it possibly irrational that we choose to respond, with such violence as is needed, when attacked by a self-declared enemy? The US-Australian relationship was merely the framework within which our response was conducted.

5. Was this sufficent reason for our involvement?
A. Absolutely. A foreign force has declared us their enemy and then acted with deadly force against us and our Allies, killing thousands of us,a nd over 100 of my fellow citizens. Hmm. Thinks. Nasty foreigners are actively killing my fellow citizens - and protecting those folks is my job, and the job of 51,000 of my comrades. Time for the government to tell me and a few of my 51,000 hairy mates to find aforementioned nasty foreigners and have a little discussion with them about the PRICE they have to pay for killing my countrymen who were doing them no harm at all. THEY have made damned sure that we are at war with them - whether we want to be, or not. SO the question in this case is meaningless, for we ARE involved, whether we want to be, or not.
I am damned proud that we have a mob in office who understand this, and who have sent us in the ADF in harms way to astop these bastards from killing my countrymen - including those who despise me and my comrades, like Adams and Ramsey.

6. Who do you think benefits most from the relationship? (Which is a tougher question than it sounds, I reckon.)
A. Which illustrates the poser of the question needs to do some research and study because he is too uninformed to ask this question. Alliances are mechanisms where nations (as defined by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648) see merging in their interests. To put it another way, Australia and the US have common interests - lots of them. Along the planes where these interests mesh, an Alliance has formed. This allows Australia to effectively 'shift' about 50% of its defence spending on to the US taxpayer, and it allows the US to effectively 'shift' a fraction of its defence spending on to us. Why? Because we look after each other's interests along the lines where they mesh, because that is in OUR interest. So both nations benefit. I'd say overall that we benefit more in the regional sense than the US does, and they benefit more in the eglobal sense than we do. That is a fair cop, we are a regional power, they are a global one.

Phew. What a long winded way to note that I cannot, in good conscience this time around, vote for Latham or the ALP. I'd actually like to, because I have this gut feeling that keeping one party in power for more than 2 terms is an error. But the Opposition has a bloody important job to do - to fix up the faults they developed in office, to recharge their batteries, and to BE AN ALTERNATIVE GOVERNMENT IN WAITING. The ALP, under Crean and Latham, has failed very badly at this. And they cannot be allowed to govern when not fit to do so.


PS Sorry about the sloppy spelling, have to write in haste.

Posted by: MarkL at June 10, 2004 at 09:31 AM

What Tibor said, most especially:

We are also imperfect countries, but then there are no perfect countries, and to my mind, no countries more perfect than ours.

Also, it's understood in my part of the U.S. that Australia makes some of the finest wines in the world these days, without the pricey stickers and the insistent snobbery.

Posted by: Rebecca at June 10, 2004 at 09:39 AM

Way to go Mark L! You have comprehensively summed up the position on foreign policy.

On economic/fiscal policy, obviously the Liberals are better. Fortunately, Latham is getting pretty right-wing on this so the debate is being narrowed anyway - we will have to wait and see whether the unions call in their favours from him however.

Socially - Howard is a shocker. Small-minded, low-brow, unintellectual conservative. All of the things that made Australia such a pit in the 1950s. However, the ALP under Latham agrees with Howard on denying me civil rights, so I suppose this cancels out any difference they may have had anyway.

Howard and Latham may want to deny my civil rights and keep me a second class citizen, but at least Howard will try to protect me from the Islamofascists who want to decapitate me.

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 09:46 AM

As a good Tory, I always vote for the Liberals. I tried to kid myself in days gone by that I was a swinging voter, but the ALP has never given me cause to change my vote. Latham is just the latest in a long line of idiots who seem to think that government spending programmes can create "equality". And that's the problem with Labor in a nutshell. They are too damn hypocritical for me. When they are in power it is never the disadvantaged that flourish, but the academics and other low-rent "elites" who queue up to get their snouts in the public sector trough. The classic example is the area of Aboriginal affairs. Under the last Labor government spending on Aboriginal affairs was increased billions, but the health of the Aboriginal people declined as their "leaders" wasted the money on land claims and other such rubbish. Under Howard, the Aboriginal "leaders" have whinged a blue streak, but the aboriginal people have done much better.

Sinistra delenda est!!

Posted by: Toryhere at June 10, 2004 at 10:01 AM

As a previous long-term Labour voter the conduct of both Howard and Latham have convinced me to vote Liberal.

Unfortunately I'm in a safe Labour seat so this won't have much impact. Hopefully it will help in the Senate.

Posted by: PeterB at June 10, 2004 at 10:01 AM

It's none of my damn business, since I'm an American, but I must confess to some previous admiration (during my visits to Australia) to the right-wing of the ALP, as represented by Queensland's Wayne Goss and the then-premier of NSW -- was his name Mr. Barr? -- which (I then felt) coincided with my continuing admiration for the right-wing of the British Labour Party, as represented by Tony Blair.

Posted by: Arjun at June 10, 2004 at 10:07 AM

"How can we vote when our beds are burning?"

Posted by: 9C at June 10, 2004 at 10:10 AM

Carr may have started out OK (just like Blair), but (just like Blair), he has degenerated into a non-ideological micro-managing over-regulating control-freak with no effective opposition.

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 10:11 AM

What is most risible is that the ALP seems to think that parachuting the ageing hippy (Garrett) into a working class safe seat will appeal to the youth vote.

Come on - firstly, since, unlike in the UK and US, voting is compulsory, there is no need to get 'the youth' (Maoist overtones here) to the polling stations anyway.

Secondly, if they are so young as to be wowed by such a silly gesture, they are likely to follow the influence of their parents' voting patterns.

Thirdly - Peter Garrett? The lead singer of a 1980s 'Reagan/the US is evil' rock group? The ALP has obviously not been watching South Park. The youth has moved on...

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 10:16 AM

I'm with you (I think I'm a Tory too - in the Churchillian sense).

I GIVE UP - 'Sinistra delenda est' ? The best guess my shaky latin will give is "Destroy the Left" or "The Left will be destroyed" ? C'mon Tory, fess up.

Posted by: Robert Blair at June 10, 2004 at 10:18 AM

Fom Cato (the Elder I think).

He ended each Senate oration with 'Carthago delenda est' ('Carthage is to destroyed' - noun plus gerundival adjective).

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 10:32 AM

I'd vote Liberal if I were Australian. I'm an American who voted for Reagan twice, GHW Bush twice, W once, and Arnold too, so you can guess my political inclinations.

John Howard seems like a decent, capable, serious man.

Latham? Well, there's a fine piece of work. Gets drunk and passes out in a taxi, refuses to pay the fare, and beats up the driver after a scuffle. Cusses like a drunken sailor (with apologies to drunken sailors). Not exactly, er, statesmanlike behavior.

In contrast, W's tortured syntax, Reagan's memory lapses, and Howard's blandness seem perfectly tolerable. I like public servants who have clearly articulated convictions, courage, and, yes, good manners.

Posted by: Butch at June 10, 2004 at 10:33 AM

John H for me.

Being stuck in a seat which used to be wonderfully Liberal and now sickly Labor (both Fed & state) I will do my best to turn as many left votes into wasted votes.

Having helped Liberal candidates in the past, and having to put up with socialist & green believers on voting day, you really do get a perspective of how intelligent the left think voters are.(they dont rate them highly - especially migrants)

Seeing that I am from a wog background, I hate it when Labor people say that you should vote for them because they help migrants. Problem is my parents came to OZ under Menzies(Great Man), & I consder myself Australian & not a wog.

Had my rant.

Dino :)

Posted by: dino at June 10, 2004 at 10:52 AM

I was turned off Latham when he commented a couple of years (?) ago about a liberal politician who'd had a serious car accident. While I have no idea why the media would ask Latham's comment about someone of the opposite political party being injured in a car accident, Latham's response tellingly showed his base character. What he said was: "it couldn't happen to a nicer guy". In Australia, there is a long tradition of politicans insulting each other in parliament, etc but to say that about someone who'd been seriously injured shows he has no sense of decency or compassion for his fellow man.

Posted by: Junia at June 10, 2004 at 10:54 AM

I just write a lot of rude words on my ballot paper.

Posted by: Russell at June 10, 2004 at 10:54 AM


Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 10, 2004 at 11:09 AM

I am a Uni student in Adelaide (at UniSA) and I will be voting for the Howard.

The alternative government, as they keep refering to themselves, just don't cut it on FP or higher education. I don't know why their policies recieve so much good press on campus - especially from lecturers! - when it is joining to make the wait for computers longer, the classes bigger, the libraries smaller and the excuses from the Uni for the state of affairs easier to believe.

Cutting and running from Iraq, cutting funding from uni's and cutting the legs of a bloody reliable FP alliance isn't a good step forward.

Posted by: Dylan at June 10, 2004 at 11:10 AM

John Howard gets my vote.

As an ex member of the Military (under Labor), I am of the opinion that we need a govt that will fund our military properly, maintain our alliances effectively and use our armed forces responsibly - that simply isn't the Labor party.

Labor traditionally spends money like a drunken sailor which has horrible effects on the economy (last time they were in we had 18% + home loan rates, now we are around 6%) - look at what Latham did to the Liverpool councils finances.

Throw in the fact that Howard is essentially a decent man who has worked for a living and Latham is a vindictive piece of human effluent who has never had a real job, and I can't see any way to vote Labor.

I'm tempted to hope that Garretts attempt to Parachute into parliament results in a high speed streamer, but I think he will do more damage to the Labor party from inside the party.

I just think that John Howard should try to recruit Natalie Imbruglia to counter this, if you are looking for a singer in politics it might as well be a one that is easy on the eyes.

Posted by: Harry Tuttle at June 10, 2004 at 11:12 AM

Toby wrote: 'Socially - Howard is a shocker. Small-minded, low-brow, unintellectual conservative.'

Socially, you mean like at parties?

And small-minded? As against Keating, that broadminded, generous-of-spirit politician who never stooped to insulting his opponents?

Low-brow? You want that Howard listens to Mahler, collects French clocks and struts around in Zegna suits like Keating? And why? To make you feel highbrow?

And unintellectual? Or just unpretentious?

Give me John Winston Howard - the quiet statesman - any day. You can keep all the other pretentious crap.

Posted by: ilibcc at June 10, 2004 at 11:17 AM


Latham is incapable of steering a consistent course. Whenever he loses traction he reaches for his hat in search of a rabbit. Garrett is the latest in a long line of theatrical flourishes. It too will fall flat.

Posted by: Greg at June 10, 2004 at 11:23 AM


Howard lives in an Australia that is gone - Australia has other role models than Bradman.

He advocates big government intervention to deny me my civil rights.

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 11:34 AM

Howard is not quite as low-brow as Tory claims BUT ...

His worst policy mistakes all seem to be rooted in a lack of intellectual curiosity and or imagination - maybe in him, maybe in his cabinet, but certainly in the policy product of Howard and his cabinet.

Eg: digital broadcast policy - the most pathetic, backward-looking, future-denying policy ever presented by a non-left Australian Government. Who knows who thought it up, but to go along with it Howard had to be very uncurious, uninformed, and desperately lacking in imagination.

Or else he was asleep at the time.

P.S. What on earth does 'ilibcc' mean ?

Posted by: Robert Blair at June 10, 2004 at 11:39 AM

I'm waiting for Play School to tell me where my vote should go. "Mary's two daddys are going to the polling booth today. Can you guess who they're going to vote for?"

Posted by: Hoges at June 10, 2004 at 11:41 AM

Howard was the guy who put Richard Alston in charge of Communications. That says it all really.

Posted by: Hoges at June 10, 2004 at 11:43 AM

I'll be voting for the Coalition.

I would like to vote Liberal but in my neck of the woods, I'll probably have to vote National (the sitting member is NP), unless the Libs do something stupid and split the conservative vote by running a candidate. (Which has hurt the Coalition in this electorate at both state and national levels.)

I cannot vote for a party that will lessen the commitment we have made to Iraq just to please the lefty, ratbag element.

Posted by: Reckers at June 10, 2004 at 11:44 AM

John Howard may be clueless when it comes to firearms and the right of self-defense, but he is otherwise a sane, responsible, and decent man who understands that it is the anti-western fanatics who are Australia's true enemy, not America, George Bush, or Christian conservatives. I hope that Australians re-elect Howard and consign the Lefties to that "dustbin of history" that Reagan was fond of mentioning.

Posted by: George L. at June 10, 2004 at 11:45 AM

As an American, I think that the business of who runs Australia is up to Australians. With that said, most of what I've heard of Howard makes me think well of the man, and most of what I've heard of Latham doesn't.

Good luck.

Posted by: rosignol at June 10, 2004 at 11:49 AM

Well said George L. This American hasn't got Australian politics sorted out but I deeply appreciate PM Howard's unstinting support. Australia forever!

Posted by: Paul H. at June 10, 2004 at 11:51 AM

Not sure. Is John Howard a Democrat or a Republican?

Posted by: TimT at June 10, 2004 at 11:58 AM

This'll be the first time that I'll vote Liberal. It'll not be on domestic policy. It'll be on foreign policy, and the fact that I can't take Mark Latham as a serious leader.

(The fact that Latham's so right-wing domestically means that it's easier for me to vote Liberal, as there isn't as much difference as there might otherwise be domestically)

Posted by: Andjam at June 10, 2004 at 11:59 AM

Must be confusing for Americans when we Aust conservatives all say we'll vote liberal. Also our conservatives run a strong gun-control program.

Anyway, this Aussie will vote for the Liberal Party of Australia, led by PM John Howard.

Not because they are perfect, although they damn near are. But because they have done some magnificent things, like helping liberate East Timor, and many good things besides. Meanwhile the opposition parties are either dangerously naive or frighteningly obsessed with winning at any cost.

Posted by: Bruce at June 10, 2004 at 12:00 PM

Wilson H Tuckey.

Posted by: Richard at June 10, 2004 at 12:02 PM

Toby keeps on banging on about how the Howard Government is taking away his rights. How?

The ALP is the home of the politically correct. So a Labor Government would certainly take away your rights to free speech Toby.

Posted by: Toryhere at June 10, 2004 at 12:03 PM

Oh god here is that nonsensical "intellectual curiosity" non-issue again. What is it with you book-larnin'-worshipping types? What exactly is "intellectual curiosity" -- the urge to sit and muse about how far the universe goes until it ends, like my boneheaded "existentialist" goth friends used to do? Or is it the urge to pin people against the wall and demand they tell you all about Hegel's theory of the dynamism of history? Somehow I think it's none of these things -- instead I am afraid it means "is interested in the same things I am or at least can pretend to be enough so I can convince myself I and my worldview are the most important things in the universe." Clinton was great at this sort of flimflammery; Bush shows no aptitude for it, which is why the cocktail set hate him so much: he doesn't pander to their overinflated sense of self-importance.

I would think that someone in charge of an entire country would have better things to do than indulge in "intellectual curiosity." Personally, I prefer traits such as "the ability to keep one's mind on one's job" and other such dull characteristics. Howard can do the Times crossword when he's retired.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 10, 2004 at 12:05 PM

Liberal, without question.

As the child of immigrants who struggled for many years but ultimately succeeded in achieving their goals in Australia, I have been brought up to believe that my destiny will be of my own making.

Through limited government interference and a healthy respect for the rights of the individual, the Howard Government will get my vote.

Besides which, the thought of my taxes going to a disabled black lesbian whale literacy fund raiser doesn't bear thinking of.

Posted by: French Wench at June 10, 2004 at 12:06 PM

Trick question, right?

Anybody but Bush...

(Howard, no doubt.)

Posted by: js at June 10, 2004 at 12:08 PM

Our friends in the US should note that in Australia we have "big L" Liberals and "small l" liberals and they bear no resemblance to each other at all. The term 'liberal' is hardly ever used in relation to those on the left here for that reason.

Posted by: Hoges at June 10, 2004 at 12:08 PM

Shock, horror! My dissent has been crushed... Looks like I've touched a raw nerve or seventy on the hypocrite Dunlop. As I said there a while back, there's nothing a Leftist hates more than someone else's right to free speech. And now he's proven it.
Why is it that Leftists are so terrified of facts? Perhaps it's because the core of Leftism is emotional and intellectual immaturity, a foot stamping self-indulgence that never survives contact with the real world.

Posted by: Paul Johnson at June 10, 2004 at 12:13 PM

French Wench, limited government interference and a healthy respect for the rights of the individual - are we talking about the same Howard government here? I don't think there's any party in Australia that really believes in that stuff.

Posted by: Hoges at June 10, 2004 at 12:13 PM

OK French Wench - what have you got against Muslims?!?

Posted by: Paul Johnson at June 10, 2004 at 12:14 PM

Let's review Latham's policies:
- will ratify Kyoto
- opposes the US Free Trade Agreement
- will abolish Australian Workplace Agreements and re-regulate the labour market
- will beef up the TPA to stifle competition and protect small and inefficent businesses
- more middle class welfare (including buying books for parents to read to their kids - no doubt they will be State-approved politically correct works)

I'm sure there's more but I stopped listening. He hasn't got a chance in hell of getting my vote....

Posted by: Art Vandelay at June 10, 2004 at 12:17 PM

I may be an "utterly clueless" American, but I'd vote for John Howard.

Since I can't, I'll vote for Bush.

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut at June 10, 2004 at 12:31 PM

Toryhere - Howard thinks that a marriage ban (a la GWB) is a great idea. My status as a second-class citizen is to be written into law. I am the one minority whose rights will be reversed this century.

Andrea - Howard lacks any pretense to ideological consistency. He is for limited government when it suits his Christian prejudices, but for big government when it suits his Christian prejudices (legislative intervention to direct courts on how to interpret the Marriage Act?). He is for Adam Smith when it suits his Christian prejudices (good old Protestant ethic stuff), as he is against Adam Smith when it suits him (bribes to families to have babies?).

Hoges - dead on. Costello is possily closer here. The 1980s New Right were even more intellectually coherent.

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 12:35 PM

Mark Latham is a lying, vicious, foul mouthed thug. That assertion is infallable. Mark Latham has professed to hate Liberals more every time he sees them. Well, God knows I hate Mark Latham too.

That's one of the reasons why I'm voting for John Howard.

Posted by: Dan at June 10, 2004 at 12:36 PM

While I loathe left-wing politics and respect John Howard, and even was a Liberal party member for a while, I am doing something different.

I will not be voting for the most principled, best economic manager etc etc even though I think Howard has the est personal qualities.

I will be seeking to swing the most influence I can against the party that sold out my good name in a nationwide moralist crusade. That Government took away my freedom from unwarranted search and seizure, named me in a database called CrimTrac, and stole the important possessions of hundreds of thousands of decent people, and all on the basis of our hobby.

Then, when the evidence was in that it was all a waste, they did it AGAIN for cynical gain!

I am voting sitting member LAST. I am letterboxing and pamphleting and talking. THere are any number of dishonest actions in all parties that upset people, and I want every one, labor or liberal, to consider a protest vote.

Sitting member LAST.

Posted by: ChrisPer at June 10, 2004 at 12:39 PM

I'll be voting for the first time - and voting for the Liberal Party. Mainly because of the WA state govt. reintroduction of compulsory student unionism under Labor.

Posted by: Brett Milner at June 10, 2004 at 12:43 PM

'OK French Wench - what have you got against Muslims?!?'

Did I leave them out? Sorry.

Posted by: French Wench at June 10, 2004 at 12:43 PM

I will be voting Liberal as well. They are not perfect, and some of the things they do I find obscene - mostly to do with education. (HECS, private school funding) However I then consider the prospect of Latham in charge, with Crean as treasurer and Garett as environment minister. Sweet. Lord. Jesus.

Rudd looks like Harry Potter as well, so i am not sure how seriously other governments would take him as foreign minister.

Posted by: attila at June 10, 2004 at 12:45 PM

Robert Blair, as Bruce said above: the Liberal Party - or should we say, the Liberal/National Party coalition government (let's not forget the Nationals and praiseworthy Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson) is not perfect but it's better than the rest.

Some policy failures stand against others including the China deal - real progress compared to Keating's get-closer-to-Asia hot air - and the US trade deal; but more importantly, many hundreds of small picture - once again, as against the Big Picture lie put about by wannabe statesmen who have no real interest in advancing the lives of ordinary citizens and the minutiae that entails - decisions that have produced an Australia that champions those ordinary citizens, assists them in carrying out their everyday lives and largely keeps out of their way the rest of the time.

John Winston Howard is an ordinary hard-working suburban solicitor with an ordinary family who has overcome many obstacles - including some of the most ferocious and unfair animosity, invective and outright abuse ever directed towards an Australian politician - in his rise to becoming Prime Minister, not to mention the eight subsequent years.

Yet you decry his 'lack of intellectual curiosity and or imagination'.

I don't agree. Nevertheless, national leaders do not always need to possess these qualities in order to run a country for the greater good of the majority, despite the protests of some, such as Toby, above, who said:

'He advocates big government intervention to deny me my civil rights.'

Beware of those who, when discussing politics, include the word 'me' in the same sentence.

Posted by: ilibcc at June 10, 2004 at 12:46 PM

If I could still vote in Australia I'd vote for Howard. But I voted with my feet when Keating won back in 1993 and moved to the US. I didn't take much notice of Oz politics after that, so I was surprised when little Johnny Howard emerged as PM. He seems to have done a good job in a poor world economy - remember the Asian crash - and he understood much better than Canada's leaders the stakes in the war on radical Islam. I suppose having an unstable radicalizing Islamic nation a few leagues to the Northwest would help that understanding, post East Timor and the Bali bombing. I don't think Australian's took too kindly to the Imam behind the bombings telling then they could avoid future attacks by converting to Islam. No surfing, no footy, no beer, no way.

I support Australia by drinking Aussie wine to excess (it's abundant at our local supermarket), and avoiding Froggy plonk and, now, Spanish swill.

Posted by: Pat at June 10, 2004 at 12:47 PM


Who the hell else is there to vote for? L

Posted by: Tex at June 10, 2004 at 12:48 PM


Who the hell else is there to vote for?

Posted by: Tex at June 10, 2004 at 12:49 PM


That was a fatuous comment.

Denying me my civil rights for the 'greater good of the majority'? Are we talking about Australia , or Russia or France?

Even if there were some utilitarian good involved, the whole point of representative democracy is to avoid the tyranny of the majority. I am sorry - but you are way wrong here mate. Burke, Plato, Aristotle and Reagan are on my side on this.

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 12:52 PM

attila - since our current foreign minister was once photographed in fishnet stockings, Rudd's glasses could be the least of his problems. As for Peter 'Short Memory' Garrett, I wouldn't be surprised if an independent labour candidate in Kingsford Smith rolls him.

Toby - Howard's stance on gay marriage is just another example of his ingrained bigotry. Unfortunately Latham has said "me too" so what can you do?

ChrisPer - sitting member last would be great if everyone did it if only to get the current lot off of the super gravy train that we can only hope will be denied to future members.

Posted by: Hoges at June 10, 2004 at 12:53 PM

Hoges - As I said mearer the top, that cancels things out. Both are bigots, but Howard will try to stop me from decapitation by Islamofascists, whereas Latham will surrender to them, so I will vote for Howard.

As attilla says "Latham in charge, with Crean as treasurer and Garett as environment minister" - res ipsa loquitur.

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 12:56 PM

Hoges - As I said nearer the top, that cancels things out. Both are bigots, but Howard will try to stop me from decapitation by Islamofascists, whereas Latham will surrender to them, so I will vote for Howard.

As attilla says "Latham in charge, with Crean as treasurer and Garett as environment minister" - res ipsa loquitur.

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 12:57 PM

Of course I'll be voting for Howard.

Reasons: economic stability; courageous willingness to stare down the calls for the sillier kinds of social experimentation; awesome articulacy - as politico and advocate; his 'national interest first' foreign policy; his success in foreign policy in relation to the Anglosphere and Asia; his nerve in actualising independence for East Timor; his support for the toppling of the Taliban and Saddam; his realisation that Australia, while small, is one of the oldest democracies in the world and should wield both practical and moral power with repect to, for example, the War on Terrorism; his belief that schools should be accountable to the public; his belief in practical measures to improve the appalling lot of many Aborigines; his demolition of the obscene people smuggling industry; his decency as a man.

Howard's Faults: more money needed on defence; it is an Australian tradition for Diggers to get by on the smell of the proverbial oily rag but let's not push that too far. On the Republic: not so much a criticism of Howard - I just happen to be a Republican. (Toryhere: we have to part company on this one...mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!).

Real JeffS: Thanks for your vote! Now all I need is a severe buzz-cut and a deranged party leader to parachute me into a safe Liberal seat. Make way Tony Abbot! As Harry Hutton is an ex-para, he could manage my campaign and the drop itself. Toryhere could write my education policy, which would emphasise - inter alia, the importance of Latin.

Junia: Latham also made a reference to former Liberal powerbroker Tony Staley being a "twisted" cripple - he walks only with the aid of crutches. He called conservative journalist Janet Albrechtson a "skanky ho" - an offense that got Frank Sinatra marooned here in the 70s when he committed a comparable offense. (Blue-eyes called a female journalist a whore and the unions wouldn't let him out of the country). When Cardinal Pell was falsely charged with sexual abuse, Latham said to Tony Abbott (a former Catholic seminarian) in Parliament that "it's been a bad day for priests." He also joked that he would piss on the PM if he chanced to be standing at a urinal with him.

Mark Latham is unfit to be Prime Minister. He is also unfit to be the leader of the ALP - one of the oldest political parties in the world and one that gave Australia such MEN as Chris Watson, John Curtin, Ben Chifley. He isn't worthy to lick the boots of these men. No modern Labor frontbencher is.

Posted by: currencylad at June 10, 2004 at 01:01 PM

I love the way that the lefties always underestimate Howard. He obviously fluked everything that has happened to him:

- came back as opposition leader after being stabbed in the back numerous times
- defeated Paul Keating and Beasely (whatever his name was)
- Staved off a few leadership challenges
- has not aged nearly as much as previous pms, in fact he seems to thrive in the job
- has overseen the liberation of East Timor, Iraq and staved off anarchy in the Solomons.

None of these things had anything to do with his ability as a politician of course - pure ass.

As for Latham - this Garret affair is certainly giving me a well needed laugh - it is surely a sign of his strong and decisive leadership. I hope he keeps it up!

Posted by: Rob at June 10, 2004 at 01:19 PM

If there's a good independent or small party candidate, they'll get my first preference, then lower down the ticket I'll be voting for the Liberals - no surprises there.

I'd probably do that even if I was a Labor supporter, since I live in a safe Labor seat - and I don't like seats to be safe. It makes the representative lazy and arrogant.

Posted by: EvilPundit at June 10, 2004 at 01:28 PM

Toby: I dunno -- "suits his Christian prejudices" sounds pretty consistent to me if it underlies everything he does... Hey, I'm just repeating your own words back to you, do you know what they mean?

By the way, congratulations on smuggling your missives here out of the Oz Gulag. Solidarność!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 10, 2004 at 01:52 PM

John Howard is the guy for me. He's a straight talking son of a bitch. What's his plans for 2008? By that time the Ah-nold Amendment should be in place.

Posted by: Mike Hill at June 10, 2004 at 02:01 PM

As an ill-informed American, my vote is for Howard. He's one of the few world leaders who Bush doesn't want to punch in the face, and Howard doesn't sound like a French name at all.

However, when thinking about this I decided I needed to put myself in the shoes of an average Australian. I don't know anything of your nation except for broadly drawn stereotypes so it was difficult for me. I know that down under people wear hats, carry knives and drink big cans of beer. I am also aware that you seem to have some kind of problem with dingos eating children. I haven't a clue what a dingo is, but it sounds disturbing. With that in mind I would recommend you people vote for that guy who talks funny and wrestles crocodiles on TV. Looks like he can solve that dingo issue for you.

Posted by: G.bob at June 10, 2004 at 02:03 PM

Currencylad wrote "Mark Latham is unfit to be Prime Minister. He is also unfit to be the leader of the ALP - one of the oldest political parties in the world and one that gave Australia such MEN as Chris Watson, John Curtin, Ben Chifley. He isn't worthy to lick the boots of these men. No modern Labor frontbencher is."

My late father used to lament the passing of the old Labor party. He used to quote someone who said the "Labor party used to made up of the cream of the working class. Now it's made of the scum of the middle class". Seems to be true.

Posted by: Pat at June 10, 2004 at 02:04 PM

please remember both cream and scum rise to the top.


Posted by: dino at June 10, 2004 at 02:09 PM

Pat: That description you quoted was made by Kim Beazley Sr. True story.

Posted by: currencylad at June 10, 2004 at 02:15 PM

Uni student at UWS
Howard Howard Howard, or, more accurately, The national Party canidiate for my electorate, which currently has independant MP Tony Windsor as its member

Posted by: RhikoR at June 10, 2004 at 02:20 PM

Anyone but Howard. He's not protecting us from 'Islamofacists', if anything he is delivering us to them.

It's time to take back our democracy.

Posted by: Liz at June 10, 2004 at 02:55 PM

Vote 1 John Winston Howard

The Oz economy is a little bigger than liverpool council and it's now in receivership. Imagine that dopey prick Crean as our bean counter, he couldn't count his fingers. That's the stuff of nightmares.

Howards government have done an enormous job in paying back more than $70 Billion of a labor debt of $96 Billion. Our economy is the best it's been for more than 30 years.
Latham is out of his depth and recruiting Garrett is further proof. His constant attack on G.W.Bush is embarrasing and vile but he can't take when Dubbya swings back. His comments in regards to Howard, e.g. arselicker, proves he has scant few qualities that make him a leader. He's a drunken taxi basher who also chewed up and spat out his own wife and family to get to where he is..He is SCUM

Posted by: scott at June 10, 2004 at 02:57 PM

I really like PM Howard. He seems to be honest and decent. A good leader for Australia. The times I have seen him on our news programs here, he seems like a very warm and down to earth man as well.

I *think* the Australian system has the PM be from the party who has the most seats? In other words, you don't get to vote for PM directly?
(I'd vote for Howard's party, the Australian Liberal Party, even though I detest voting for any one party. I'd do it so Howard would be elected.)

Posted by: Chris Josephson at June 10, 2004 at 03:16 PM

John Howard outclasses and outdoes Latham by a mile (or are you metric?)

Pllleeeaaassseee reelect him so that his face doesn't get x'ed out on Euro and Muslim posters against the Coalition, as Aznar's candidate experienced. Wouldn't it be a shame if those unserious brats won?

Posted by: c of usa at June 10, 2004 at 03:16 PM

After the Whitlam,Fraser,Hawke& Keating reign of terror ,I lost faith in all politicians.
John Howard has restored my faith in the political process .
The labor party are pure evil ie: Carmen Lawrence.
God help Australia if Labor win the next election.
Go John.

Posted by: John P. at June 10, 2004 at 03:17 PM

First, for all those unfortunate enough not to be living in God's Own Country, an article saying who the major players on the Oz political scene are: Australian Political Ecology, explaining why Australian Liberals are like US Republicans, and why Australian Republicans can be found everywhere on the political spectrum.

Now for my own opinion: Howard is past his use-by date. It's time for a change. Howard's done magnificently with iraq, but he's getting more tired and less flexible as time goes by. So I look at what the ALP has to offer.. Mark Latham.

Oh Dear. Oh Dearry, Dearry Me.

I think Howard did the right thing re Illegal Immigrants - talk tough, appear like a bully, while quietly and behind the scenes act with some humanity (you do know that the Tampa refugees who were genuine asylum seekers all got residency in the end, didn't you? No? Well neither the Libs nor Labor wants that publicised). Though in other areas of Immigration, such as returning pregnant Chinese who got forced 'abortions' at 8 1/2 months, the Policy is criminal, immoral and outrageous. I'm outraged anyway.

There are hundreds of minor stuff-ups that the Libs have been responsible for. The pigheaded rejection of Heroin injecting-room trials without examining the evidence is one of them. I can understand rejecting them (I don't agree though), but to do so on narrow ideological grounds smacks of arrogance. The ban on gay marriage likewise, I've seen too many court cases where some sibling not seen for 30 years gets to dispose of a couple's assets on the death of a partner, just because the couple is same-sex.

But in the Big Picture, the Important things, Security and the Economy, the Libs have shown courage, and been rewarded with success. It's only at the fringes that they get my goat. Like the de-facto abandonment (Again) of an Australian Space Programme (which incidentally left me unemployed).

Maybe Latham would make a decent PM after a few years in opposition. Maybe. I've had a look at some of his policies, and they look good overall. But his intransigence re Iraq, his willingness to insult in the vilest terms anyone who has the temerity to disagree with him in the slightest, his thuggishness and bully-boy mentality... he'll have to lose that first. If he did, would there be anything left?

It doesn't help that on Foreign Policy, he's a disaster. Maybe he wouldn't wreck the Economy. maybe. But maybe he would. He's a loose cannon if ever there was one, put him in a position of power, and it would be disasterous. Latham as PM? CHRIST NO! That means I have to vote Liberal, and hope to have a genuine choice - say Costello vs Rudd - next election.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at June 10, 2004 at 03:18 PM

I will vote Liberal. I am in the seat of Swan that is held by Labor's Kim Wilkie. I think Swan is a somewhat safe Labor seat though I don't know for sure. In the Stae elections I am in Geoff Gallop's seat (he actually lives two streets away). I voted for Wilkie last election but thankfully, because it was my first election and I hadn't been registered properly, I got a letter a few weeks later telling me that my vote had been rejected. Does that mean I still have a clean sheet?
I don't know much about economics but it is plain obvious that Costello has done a good job.
I have two big problem's with the Labor party;

1) Their foregin policy is somewhere between isolationists to handing over Australian sovreignty to the UN. They think that Pine Gap is enough of a contrinution to the ANZUS alliance to keep the US satisfied. We have 2 choices for defence either beef us the Army to be big enough to repell an Indonesian invasion or suck Yankee doodle with the ANZUS insurance policy. The Labor party is opposed to both options. That said, I don't think that Latham will pull the troops out of Iraq if he wins. Within the first week of his election he will be called to Washinton and given a stern talking to. Labor's false messiah wil be sent home with his tail between his legs.

2) The Labor party is weak and incompetent. Picking Latham to lead them is the first smart move they have made in a long while. During the Howard v Beazley elections Howard just kept his mouth shut and let Beazley self-fisk himself. In the lead up to Iraq War Simon Crean led the party that was opposed to the war (as were the majority of Austrlian's) and he still managed to lose popularity. The Coalition of the Willing can thank Crean's big mouth for boosting the Australian publics support for the war. Policies asside I want a government who will actually do a good job at whatever they plan on doing. I also wan't a strong oppostion that will foce the in power party to lift it's game. It's called competition, actually competing for my vote. It's good for the economy and it's good for politics.

Also, the Labor party has scary loonies in it like Carmen Lawrewnce, Ian'Hezbullah'McLeay, and now Peter Garrett.

Also, I think that George Bush just might be the seccond comming of Christ. George says: 'Vote Howard'

Posted by: Troy at June 10, 2004 at 03:45 PM


The Goivernment is not taking away your rights, rather it isn't granting you a privilege to be regulated.

Let me give you an an example. Under NSW law, you cannot practise as a solicitor unless you have a law degree and have been admitted to practice by the Supreme Court. Once you are admitted to practise as a solicitor, you have to follow the rules laid down by the Law Society. Thus, by meeting the criteria you are granted the privilege to practise as a solicitor, but are also subject to regulation that does not apply to other citizens. If in future some activists decide that it is unfair that only law graduates can be solicitors, they couldn't say that the rights of non-graduates are being taken away, but that the government's criteria for granting a privilege are wrong.

In just the same way, John Howard and Mark Latham both seeem to have come to the conclusion that members of the same sex do not meet the criteria to be married to each other. In doing so they are effectively denying homosexual relationships the privileged status of marriage at law (however, in most laws these days same sex defacto couples have the same privileges as married heterosexual couples). But what they are not doing is denying anybody any rights.

Posted by: Toryhere at June 10, 2004 at 03:55 PM

I'll be voting Libs & JWH. Unfortunately the traitor Wilkie is the Greens candidate here & I'll have to see his insipid face on his "Truth with Wilkie" flyers. Don't think Labour will field much of a candidate so maybe John Howard's main rival will be Wanker Wilkie.

Posted by: tricia01 at June 10, 2004 at 04:04 PM


Sorry - but I disagree on both fronts.

On the higher level, we have a Marriage Act that is gender neutral. There may have been a belief (commonly held) for a long time that the definition in the Act meant only opposite-sex marriages were allowed, but the legislation never said this. Times have changed and the courts are inching towards reading the legislation's words as written. This is a respectable method of legislative interpretation (the 'golden rule' from my distant memories of law school). You are pointing to some US - style 'original intention' reading that has never held sway in Australia -well, at least since the Engineers case (memory once again).

I also think you are on very dangerous ground when you start to say that marriage is a government given 'privilege', especially when you say that the government is allowed to adopt a religious definition of it.

The analogy is flawed - it only works if you define marriage as the law degree in your analogy - one has to be opposite sex to be married, and what is marriage - a union between opposite sexes. Who is a lawyer? Only those with law degrees. What is a law degree? Something held by lawyers. This is begging the question in the true sense of rhetoric .

The Dred Scott case is apposite here.

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 04:25 PM

No-one uses the "golden rule" in legislative interpretation anymore. It's all purposive approach now.

The Engineer's case (won by Robert Menzies btw) is irrelevant, as it dealt with the supremacy of the Commonwealth over the States.

I think the doctrine that you might be looking for is the one that says that the "Act is always speaking". Under this doctrine it could be argued that the Marriage Act applies to a relationship between the mebers of the same sex. But that does not alter the fact that the Act confers a privilege, not a right.

Posted by: Toryhere at June 10, 2004 at 05:32 PM

Even on the purposive approach, a modern court would be likely to find no gender discrimination in the Act (especially in view of High Court authority that courts must read domestic legislation in line with Ausralia's international treaty obligations) - which is precisely why Howard is trying to legislate his Christianity onto citizens who do not desire it or agree with it.

Engineers is relevant in the limited use to which I put it.

This thread is probably not the place to start on the vexed subject of whether fundamental human rights are government granted privileges.

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 05:39 PM


As an ignorant American, I don't know much about Australian marriage laws, but I have to chime in and say that the Dred Scot comparison is inappropriate. The famous historian Shelby Steele makes the case on why same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue here ( http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110004846 ).

As an American conservative who supports both Bush and PM Howard's opposition to same-sex marriage, let me also object to your summoning of Burke and Reagan to your defense. I have never heard of Reagan talk about this subject. His pro-life position makes me suspect that he is not on your side.

As for Burke, we're talking about a man who so revered tradition that he defended the English monarchy. This is not a man who is about to change a centuries old tradition that predated the monarchy, predated the creation of Britain.

As for the topic, I would go with the Liberal Party.

Posted by: htjyang at June 10, 2004 at 05:41 PM

g.bob: Dingo: Australian Native Dog. see
If someone is described as a dingo, it means they are underhanded, skulking, sly.

Hey! My first link and I worked it out.

Posted by: kae at June 10, 2004 at 05:42 PM

htjyang - You make the same mistake the US Supreme Court did in Bowers v Hardwick - one of characterisation.

The question is what rule you apply - is there a consitutional right to sodomy, or is there a constitutional right to privacy? In Bowers, the court tendentiously (and legally illogically) took the first, whereas in Roe v Wade, it took the second. Whether you agree with Wade or not, there is good authority (see eg Griswold v Connecticut) that there is a right of privacy in the US Constitution.

In the establishment cases, one doesn't ask 'Is there a right to believe that L Ron Hubbard created the earth', but rather 'Does Scientology fall within the accepted definition of religion'?

To apply a different rule because the subject matter is homosexuality shows animus - whether religious or otherwise, so be it.

The law and politics is not about animus towards a hated minority - so my statement that Reagan (see his oppositon to the Briggs amendment) and Burke et al would have agreed with me that 'Even if there were some utilitarian good involved, the whole point of representative democracy is to avoid the tyranny of the majority' was correct. Burke especially would disagree with government intervention to impose a religious precept on those who did not agree with it. He hated the French revolution as the exemplar par excellence of the tyranny of the unthinking majority. Remember, the Rrench revolutionaries also sought to impose their religion on the unwilling.

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 05:54 PM

Liberal. Will be the first time at a state or federal level.

There's a lot I don't like about Howard's policies, but given the alternative, he's got my vote.

Latham would have to change his entire FP and a fair amount of his economic policies for me to even consider him.

Posted by: Dave at June 10, 2004 at 05:56 PM


You're assuming that I accept Griswold v Connecticut as a controlling precedent. I don't. I'm with Justice Scalia in dissent in Lawrence v. Texas. If you will be so kind as to find the word "privacy" in the US Constitution for me, I would be grateful. I for one have tried in vain to locate that word there.

It's very interesting how you immediately brought up "hated minority" as if the US is sending homosexuals to furnaces. If anything, homosexuals are more protected than the KKK. More than a few US Congressmen have marched in gay pride parades. How many dares to march in a KKK parade?

Burke may not like the tyranny of the majority, but he despised the tyranny of the minority at least as much. He made no excuses for the French monarchy even when he criticized French radicals in his "Reflections on the Revolution in France". He liked the English monarchy not because it was a minority, but because it was weak. Therefore its role as a representative of tradition and English historical heritage is positive. When George III exercised royal prerogatives against the colonies, Burke criticized him sharply.

Which is why the tyranny of the majority issue is not relevant here. There is no oppression of homosexuals.

Objection to same-sex marriage is not merely confined to the religious. I myself object to it and I am agnostic. I object to it on the same ground that Burke would. It tramples on a long tradition with no good reason.

Burke stood against the theorists, the people who value theory over reality. You spoke a lot about tyranny of the majority. Exactly how is this tyranny manifested? Will somehow a marriage certificate end all hate crimes against homosexuals from bigots? I doubt it. Chances are, the Law of Unintended Consequences suggests the exact opposite, that the legitimation of same-sex marriage will only radicalize some extremist elements. Indeed, Lawrence has already forced Bush to come out and ask the use of that nuclear weapon of American politics, a Constituional amendment. I think you should be weary of the unintended consequences of same-sex marriage. Stanley Kurtz of The Weekly Standard has written a series of essays on how same-sex marriage harms marriage as a whole. (links available upon request)

You're right to suggest that Burke would oppose government imposition of religion though that point has no relevance here. As I argued, there are good reasons for the non-religious to object to same-sex marriage. That aside, even your point should not be taken too far. I never heard of Burke wanting to eliminate the Church of England despite its obvious entrenchment in the political system. One might argue that the prohibition against Catholics on the English throne was also an entrenchment of religious prejudice yet I never heard of Burke objecting to that, either. Here again, Burke's reverence for tradition is the controlling factor.

Posted by: htjyang at June 10, 2004 at 06:16 PM

I must say I am shocked, nay, amazed, that no troll has stopped in to pollute this thread. All we have is civil, intelligent discourse.

Shame on you Toby! Don't you know the way to argue is to toss insults around? Hasn't Miranda Divide taught you anything?


Posted by: Quentin George at June 10, 2004 at 06:18 PM

Objection to same-sex marriage is not merely confined to the religious. I myself object to it and I am agnostic. I object to it on the same ground that Burke would. It tramples on a long tradition with no good reason.

htjyang, I don't understand how this "tramples on" the tradition of marriage. It just makes it universal. Do you have to disenfranchise a minority to uphold a tradition?

Posted by: Hoges at June 10, 2004 at 06:32 PM

hjtyang - It is the end of the day here and the discussion is supposed to be about voting.

All I will say is that each of your arguments were made about enfranchisement of black people and women, and even more to the point, in support of anti-miscegenation laws.

Posted by: Toby at June 10, 2004 at 06:38 PM


The institution of marriage has been in place for a very long time, long before either US or Australia ever existed.

From ancient China to Medieval Spain, the view on marriage, until very recently, is the same. It is an union of man and woman.

It's hard to believe that this unanimity is accidental. Traditions do not come about thoughtlessly. Just because we may have forgotten the reason for their existence is no reason to do away with it. The burden of proof is on those who want to change, not on those who want to uphold tradition.

One of the things that Burke detested is the arrogant presumption of "those who happen to be walking about." The arrogant assumption by the present that it is superior to the past.

I am not opposed to changing tradition as long as the burden of proof has been fulfilled. In the case of same-sex marriage, the burden has not been fulfilled.

I am reminded of the radicalism of the 1960's and 1970's when some people even argued that fathers are not necessary to child development. In the past 20 years, social science has finally caught up with that nonsense, but not before it did a lot of damage. I hate to see a repeat of that experience.

Stanley Kurtz wrote on how same-sex marriage exacerbated the marriage crisis in Scandinavia. I think it is an example we should avoid.

Posted by: htjyang at June 10, 2004 at 06:51 PM

Alan E. Brain wrote: "The pigheaded rejection of Heroin injecting-room trials . . . smacks of arrogance."

Pun intended?

Posted by: tibor at June 10, 2004 at 07:05 PM

Liberal - for too many reasons to count (doesn't matter who the Labour leader is).

Just as an aside, not long after Latham was "annointed" as ALP parliamentary leader, the Daily Telegraph(?) in Sydney ran a photo of Latham's primary school cricket team.

It was obvious that he was an athlete, but the most compelling thing were his eyes.

My first thought was - "He's an evil little prick, isn't he".

Posted by: DaveACT at June 10, 2004 at 07:12 PM

Latham will say anything to get the popular vote. Who knows what he will do if he gets in. I don't trust him.

Posted by: Observer at June 10, 2004 at 09:38 PM

Democrat if I'm hungover and listen to The Cure before voting.

Liberal if I'm properly sane.

Greens if I'm in a wacky mood and don't want my vote to mean much but the girl with the handouts isn't too feral.

Anyone but a Latham-run Labour party. He doesn't have the qualities I want in a world leader.

Posted by: JakeD at June 10, 2004 at 10:10 PM

It's Hobson's choice.

Howard is a dishonest corrupter and wrecker of Australia's Public Service system -- that once was one of the world's best. He should go. Now.

Latham is a flake, most of whose colleagues (Macklin, Kim Carr--a real idiot, Mar'n Fers'n, etc) want to take us posthaste 'back to the future', ie the '70s. We had enough of that stuff, then.

Me? I vote Costello.

Posted by: BillC at June 10, 2004 at 11:42 PM

Is the Aussie Liberal party the small government, low taxes party? If it is John Howard is the man for this American.

By the By, to show support for our wonderful Australian allies I have taken it upon myself to drink bottles of Rosemont Shiraz (product of Southern Australia according to the bottle). It's a tough job but I do enjoy it with my long lunches.

Posted by: Stacy at June 10, 2004 at 11:48 PM

Were that the case, Stacy. The Howard government taxes and regulates likes mad...but the ALP is worse.

Posted this earlier on Tim Dunlap's site. Thought it worth reporting here, given Powell comments urging Latham to reconsider:

As for a change in our stance in the relationship, we shouldn't make the mistake that the US is measuring our stance with 5 years ago, or even 10 years ago, post Cold War. As far as the US is concerned, it's on a war-footing, and so are its allies. The Kiwis played these same smart-ass games in 1984 during the Cold War, got too smart for themselves, and they've been trying to retrieve ground ever since. It's a damn sight easier to break trust than to regain it. The Americans know this isn't a game, it's for real, and it's too damned serious to be playing footsie with lines in the sand for the sake of a bunch of loons

Posted by: lesley at June 11, 2004 at 12:15 AM

not too bad stacy but if you like your whites the try Starve Dog Lane for reds then Redmans, Jamesons Run, Church Block, or any of the WA Margaret River Reds amongst many many fine Australian Wines all fine with LUNCH

Posted by: Just Another Bloody Lawyer at June 11, 2004 at 12:17 AM

Just out of curiosity, what is the top tax bracket in Aus.? Currently in the US it is around 32 - 34 %. GWB reduced it from 38%. Get this, Reagan reduced it from around 70% (Thank you Jimmy Carter) to 28%. And European's and others wonder why he won 49 states? Pleeeese.

Also, Lawyer, thanks for the recommendations. I will try them!

Posted by: Stacy at June 11, 2004 at 01:17 AM

Toby - have you forgotten that the other half of Howard's announcement about ban gay marriage was that same-sex de facto couples will now receive all rights that heterosexual de facto couples do - and that this essentially gives them the same rights as married couples?

Yes there is symbolism, and the symbolism is anti-same-sex relationships - but you should be argueing about it rather than your 'rights' which have actually been increased by this announcement.

Posted by: Fred at June 11, 2004 at 01:40 AM

As a follow-up to my much earlier post, I posted this response on Tim Dunlap's site to a dumbass comment from someone named Andrew:

Andrew wrote: "BTW, in Tibor's comments above about the "shared values" of the Anglosphere, I presume he was not including

Burma or

in that happy, happy few.

Presumably it is nothing to do with the predominant skin colour of those nations."

I most definitely was not including those nations, as they are not nearly as stable, democratic and successful and are far more homogenous than the US, UK, Canada or Australia. Race was not a factor at all. I excluded many Commonwealth countries. I thought hard about including NZ, but decided to leave them out because they have been flat out wacky as regards the environment/nuclear issues (although some of their SAS/SBS types have helped out in Afghanistan). I excluded India, despite their democracy, on account of the Kashmir situation. Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Kenya (and many other African and Asian countries) are all basket cases. I know that Malaysia and Singapore are more stable, but Malaysia is home to that racist Mahatir (or is it Matahir?). Singapore is not a very free society, although it is prosperous. I also left off Hong Kong on account of the ChiComs and South Africa on account of its racist past and unsteady present.

The standard for making this very important list was democracy, freedom, respect for others, respect for the rule of law, market-based economic system and a heterogeneous society/openness to immigrants. I have no explanation for why these four are the only countries that meet the mark.

Posted by: Tibor at June 11, 2004 at 02:26 AM

I'll be voting Green and preferencing to Labour in the House - Democrats in the Senate. Basically I'll be voting against Howard and Costello rather than for anyone.

Howard is old news and has no new policies. This is only natural after such a long time in office. He lead Australia into a war no-one really wanted. Any politician which goes against public opinion on a decision as important as whether to go to war does not deserve to be running the country. He has a track record of misrepresenting controversial subjects (WMD's, children overboard, the extent of Australia's awareness of the torture of Iraqi). He ensured the referendum about whether Australia should be a republic would fail.
Costello on the other hand gives us 'burger and milkshake' tax cuts while being the highest taxing treasurer in our history. On the other hand if Costello did get the PM's job I'd consider voting Liberal as he is economically conservative while being a bit more socially progressive.

In sum it's time for some new blood.

Posted by: Dobaman at June 11, 2004 at 05:29 AM

Yes there is symbolism, and the symbolism is anti-same-sex relationships - but you should be argueing about it rather than your 'rights' which have actually been increased by this announcement.

If a thief steals your car, and returns it a few days later without the stereo, does that make him any less a thief? He has denied you the use of something that is yours, but only temporarily -- and it's not as if he's taken the whole car, only the stereo. Certainly you reaped some small benefit because your car has been returned, even if it no longer contains its original stereo -- which in any case is not a necessary item.

You might be inclined to thank such a man for his generosity, except for one major point: The guy took something that was yours. He had no claim to it. So when he took it, he misused his agency to do something he shouldn't have done. You're not going to give this guy any gratitude for returning something he stole -- especially if he returns it less than fully intact. You probably wouldn't be kind to this man, since he stole what was yours in the first place. You'd prosecute him.

Governments can't "give" you your rights any more than a thief can "give" you your car after he steals it. The very concept of "rights" means that there are some areas of individual life in which government cannot intervene. When they do, they act wrongly.

Now, I don't know how you Australians feel about slavery. Since I'm an American and a Southerner, I know a bit about the institution. One of the things masters did to slaves was to keep them from marrying. Of course, kind masters gave their slaves most of the benefits of marriage, but since those benefits depended on the master's largesse, they could be taken away at a moment's notice.

Depriving slaves of their rights was one of the most important ways their masters maintained control over their personal lives -- so in this respect, it was a denial of their natural "rights." Small wonder, then, that even well-treated slaves felt the same affection for their masters as you would for a thief. And it seems that Toby's complaints aren't dissimilar: If forming a marriage contract is a basic human right -- that is, if it belongs to that sphere of private life in which government should have as small a role as possible -- then the government is wrong to take it away, no matter what it offers in compensation.

Posted by: Timothy Hulsey at June 11, 2004 at 07:14 AM

First sentence, last paragraph, fifth word: "rights" should read "rights to marriage." Apologies.

Posted by: Timothy Hulsey at June 11, 2004 at 07:16 AM

What does "sitting member LAST" mean?

Posted by: George L. at June 11, 2004 at 08:54 AM

This thread is nearing its last legs.

hjtyang - get your facts straight, and I will argue with you about the politcs.

Kurtz is using very dodgy evidence about Scandinavia - perhaps you should read more than the tendentious ramblings at the (otherwise sensible) NRO - http://slate.msn.com/id/2100884/.

At best, your allegation about Scandinavia gets a not proven'.

I am now over this topic.

Posted by: Toby at June 11, 2004 at 09:13 AM


The top tax rate in Oz is 47%. However, there are no State income taxes in Australia like there are in the US.

Posted by: Toryhere at June 11, 2004 at 10:17 AM


Some states don't have income tax (TX, FL and PA, I think). I live in Jersey (New, that is) our is 3%. 47% is brutal, so much for the Laffer curve.

Posted by: Stacy at June 11, 2004 at 10:40 AM

George L,

Voting here is done on a preference basis, so instead of just ticking the box for the person you want, you number them all in the order of your preference. If someone doesn't get a majority of first prefs, then they look at the second pref of the candidate with the least votes and so on.

"sitting member LAST" means that regardless of which party the incumbent is, you will give them your lowest pref. The idea being to remove as many incumbents as possible. Usually these sorts of campaigns are organised when enough people feel that both parties are unacceptably bad.

Posted by: Dave at June 11, 2004 at 12:23 PM

Then there's the Hore-Lacey system in Tasmania.

Each candidate attaches a number to a racehorse ...

Posted by: ilibcc at June 11, 2004 at 01:14 PM

Stacy - Washington and South Dakota also don't have income taxes - maybe Tennessee, too. At least SD didn't the last time I was there in 1996.

Who is this Member Last everyone keeps referring to? If he's that popular, why isn't he PM?

Posted by: timks at June 11, 2004 at 02:09 PM


Do you have to pay tax on every dollar you earn in the US. Here in Oz you don't pay tax on the first $6,000.

With that, and the fact that you only pay the top rate at $70,000, most of us, after deductions, pay about 30% in income tax.

Posted by: Toryhere at June 11, 2004 at 05:01 PM

the new top rate is about to be upped to 80k (i think) soon.
Timks, read dave's post 2 above yours

Posted by: RhikoR at June 11, 2004 at 08:03 PM

Me? I'll vote for the party recommended by the newspaper that has devoted the least space to the Peter Garret non-issue.

Posted by: Paul Pottinger at June 11, 2004 at 11:54 PM

Toryhere, federal income tax rates are set, but the deductible amounts vary. There's no minimum amount that you can keep. Instead, your total income is taxed, and you have to apply deductions to reduce your taxes.

What is deductible? That's why we have a surplus of tax lawyers, accountants, and tax preparation software. Examples: dependents (children mostly), interest on house loans, some business expenses, medical expenses, and donations to charity. Some are direct deductions, some have to have a minimum amount based on your tax bracket. Plus there are tax credits set by federal law (e.g., businesses that generate power using "green" technology get a tax credit).

Confusing? Yes. Thank GOD for computers.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 12, 2004 at 02:28 AM

Wups! Forgot one thing. There is a maximum level below which taxes are not paid at all, what is defined as the poverty line, but one still has to report income. I recall that being US$10,000. But if you earn more than that, you pay taxes as noted above. An "all or nothing" approach, I think. Tax experts, feel free to chime in -- I just look to pay no more than I have to.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 12, 2004 at 02:34 AM

If its anything like Aus, where the no tax bracket is $6000, you start paying tax on every dollar you earn AFTER that amount, same when you go into another tax bracket, you only pay the higher % on the money you make above that threshold.

Posted by: r at June 12, 2004 at 10:31 AM

RhikoR - Thanks. An Aussie twist to a familiar concept. I rarely vote for an incumbent - it only encourages them. However, if voting for the incumbent will infuriate all the right people, then who am I to stand on tradition? I vote for the incumbent.

Posted by: timks at June 12, 2004 at 04:49 PM

I haven't voted for about ten years either. But the ALP and Peter Garrett have completed the change of attitude that Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle started with their idiot rants during George W's speech in the House of Reps last year. I'll be there at the booth when the time comes and it'll be VOTE 1 LIBERAL!

Posted by: murgatroyd arbuckle at June 13, 2004 at 06:45 PM