October 02, 2004


"Apart from introducing the GST and some long-overdue gun laws," writes Phillip Adams, "can Howard point to any significant body of achievement?"

Well, I'm still living here, but I'm inclined towards Mark Steyn's view on Howard's firearm legislation: "I wouldn't want to live under his government's gun-control laws." Back to Adams, and his request for a significant Howard achievement. One is found in his column:

Cast your minds back to the balaclava’d bullies and their Rottweilers threatening Australian wharfies.

Yes! Good times.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 2, 2004 06:19 AM

Rottweilers are fine dogs unless a warmth-seeking one rolls over on you in bed. Draw the line at Dobermans, at about half the weight, is my advice.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at October 2, 2004 at 06:49 AM

Yeah, I remember. The Daily Telegraph grabbed a spare female journo, trained her up on a straddle crane and demonstrated she could shift more containers per hour than those commie bludgers could roll ciggies.

My father remembered the MUA's predecessors, the WWF, who refused to load hospital and suppply ships for the troops during WW11.

I also remember the lefties rushing to the barricades to support a union who employed no women nor Asians. Yeah, we remember those commie bastards...

Posted by: jafa at October 2, 2004 at 07:00 AM

Errr...has Phillip forgotten about Australia's efforts in East Timor?

Posted by: AHL at October 2, 2004 at 08:36 AM

Let's see:

Bringing down interest rates, bringing budgets back into balance after the Keating years, fireproofing the economy through the Asian economic crisis, cleaning up the waterfront, liberating East Timor, helping to drive the Taliban out of Afghanistan, liberating Iraq.

Ok, so its not much. But what has Phil done since 1996? Write a newspaper column every day, invariably on the same subject?

Posted by: Jesus at October 2, 2004 at 08:47 AM

oops, that was me, not the resurrected saviour, sorry.

Quite and endorsement, though, wasn't it?

Posted by: Quentin George at October 2, 2004 at 08:48 AM

The States make gun laws not the Commonwealth.

Posted by: Mike at October 2, 2004 at 11:14 AM

I want to watch Adams, Ramsey and their fellow travellers squirm with a Howard win on Oct. 9. I guess that makes me a bit of a sadist but I just can't help it.

Jean-Luc Bidet

Posted by: Jean-Luc Bidet at October 2, 2004 at 11:19 AM

Quentin's got friends in high places...

Posted by: Dr Alice at October 2, 2004 at 11:26 AM

It is worth pointing out that the balaclavas were worn because these guys feared for their own safety from violent wharfies. They were the ones being bullied.

Posted by: Steve at October 2, 2004 at 11:37 AM

We need more guns in this country.

We need more people accidentally shooting themselves, particularly kids.

We need more crazies going on shooting sprees in shopping centres.

We need more murders as the result of domestic disputes.

We need more police shot dead.

How dare they take our guns away from us?

Posted by: Mr T at October 2, 2004 at 11:41 AM

Mr T, go & root a boot

Posted by: Steve at October 2, 2004 at 12:13 PM

Kingston, Adams, Ramsey have their story all ready if we have a Howard win.
Kingston-Democracy has just died.
Adams-Howard scared Ausralia into voting for him.
Ramsey-I don't know,I can't get past the first sentence of anything he writes.
I will bet their will not be one admission or appreciation for this thing we've got here called Democracy.

Posted by: gubbaboy at October 2, 2004 at 12:21 PM

Kingston, Adams, Ramsey have their story all ready if we have a Howard win.
Kingston-Democracy has just died.
Adams-Howard scared Ausralia into voting for him.
Ramsey-I don't know,I can't get past the first sentence of anything he writes.

You know, replace the names, and you can probably make the exact same prediction for Bush and the U.S. media landscape.

Posted by: PW at October 2, 2004 at 12:25 PM

Tim, the overwhelming majority of Australians fully supported John Howard's implementation of anti-gun laws because we don't bloody like 'em. I understand that Americans have a historical firearm addiction (and that's bizarre enough), but Australians by and large don't need or want guns. If you and Mark Steyn honestly think that this country is somehow worse off because we don't have ready access to automatic weaponary with not a single justifiable purpose for domestic use, I fear for both of your sanity. Please feel free to provide one, just one, argument to the contrary.
I'm proudly conservative, which I feel is about living in a free country with minimal interference from government, but it is also about maintaining a safe and secure nation with strength and values. If you think that more relaxed gun legislation would help meet those goals, that's sad.

Posted by: Rob G at October 2, 2004 at 01:15 PM

does anyone else remember refinery strikes and the petrol rationing we had under the hawke and keating govts? maybe phildo adams would prefer we went back there.. it was fun wasnt it?

Posted by: rosceo at October 2, 2004 at 01:23 PM

At least Adams can point to a significant body.

Posted by: Patsy at October 2, 2004 at 01:29 PM

Actually, I think Ramsay et al will want a coalition victory. What else will they have to talk about if it doesn't happen?

And how is limiting access to small dick replacements (most guns) a bad thing? Don't get me wrong, we have a couple of guns, but they're just for livestock and feral pest (Rabbits, Foxes, Jehovahs Witnesses) control.

Posted by: Andy at October 2, 2004 at 01:48 PM

I know it was early internet days but does anyone remember Kingston, Adams writing negative comments about Keating.?

Ramsay certainly did as he ends up hating everyone.

Posted by: Zipper at October 2, 2004 at 02:04 PM

Rob G, are you certain it is the Australian gun laws you write about? Australians have NEVER had legal access to automatic "weaponry".
The electoral wipeout of the National Party, & almost every state government which passed gun laws being promptly voted out has much more to do with gun laws than is commonly believed, in short: The gun laws? Decent Australians don't bloody like 'em!

Posted by: Steve at October 2, 2004 at 02:30 PM

Actually, I agree with Rob G. Gun rights have never really been a big issue in Australia. Sure, there is a sub-section of the community that likes 'em, hell, good for them. But we don't really have a "gun lobby" as such.

Posted by: Quentin George at October 2, 2004 at 02:44 PM

Well, Kingston claimed she voted for Howard at least once (if I remember correctly.) So I'm going to assume she voted against Keating in 1996.

Adams, on the other hand, has always had a chip on his shoulder about Howard. I think Adams was one of the "brains" behind the ad campaign for Keating's 96 re-election bid

"You may not like him but you've got to respect him..."

That went down well...

Posted by: Quentin George at October 2, 2004 at 02:46 PM

Steve seems to have conveniently forgotten Port Arthur since we lost our title of "World's worst shooting death-spree murder record holders".

I, too consider myself to be a conservative and spent my youth in the country, shooting, which I loved.

The electoral wipeout you speak of seems to have missed Howard somehow. Despite the fact that firearms legislation is a state responsibility, Howard firmly supported firearm legislation. And name a state government that has rolled back gun laws to any effect?

America might have a gun culture and be happy with the side effects, but Australia isn't. Tim's apparently pro-gun stance surprises and saddens.

(I must admit to not having read the article of Steyn's as I refuse to register to read a newspaper - I already have enough email spam for penis enlargement without giving my email address to yet another mob!)

Posted by: Mr T at October 2, 2004 at 03:01 PM

Mr T

To avoid spam.Do the following. Create a yahoo or Hotmail email address only for newspaper registrations. You only need them to email a password to you which is instant. Use this email address as your registration name when logging in.

Posted by: Anon at October 2, 2004 at 04:02 PM

In the 1970's I was an accountant involved with container shipping. The man who operated the boom gate when you arrived at the container terminal earned $70 000 a year. he worked 4 days a week . He was one of many thugs who controlled the waterfront. There are many many othe stories like this .

The sorry fact is that the degree of exploitation was never propely publicised.

Posted by: worker at October 2, 2004 at 04:07 PM

Perhaps Mr T, the spam from penis enlargement comes from anti-gun zealots, who seem obsessed with small penises (see Andy's post above).
Have not at all forgotten the Port Arthur shootings . Such events are rather uncommon in jurisdictions where gun ownership is widespread.

Posted by: Steve at October 2, 2004 at 04:33 PM

Steve. So you're trying to tell me that America doesn't really have all the many shootings? Come off it.

Mr T. Just tick the box saying "I do not wish to recive any information from third parties". Worked for me.

Wow. They got rid of assualt weapons. Our civil liberties have really been infringed upon haven't they? Now I just don't feel safe on the streets. Society has gone to the dogs and it's all becasue some guns are now illegal.

Posted by: Andy at October 2, 2004 at 05:18 PM

Andy, please explain the lack of such shootings in parts of the USA where gun ownership is universal? The total lack of such shootings in Switzerland? Perhaps you believe that Northern Ireland has no shootings (tight gun laws after all la). Lack of guns doesn't prevent the Japanese from having a sky-high suicide rate.. hmmm...

Posted by: Steve at October 2, 2004 at 05:25 PM

So suicide can only be accomplished by guns? Funny, I thought the most common cause was hanging.

Australia did not have a large history of mass shooting pre-Port Arthur. Now it holds the record. There has not been a repeat with more stingent tests.

In countries with no gun control at all (eg, Iraq, Afgh.) there is lots of death from shooting.

America still has one of the highest proportion of gun ownership in the Western World and the highest death rate from gunshot. Some areas are less than others, but overall it is the worst.

If the type of guns available were limited would this be the case?

Posted by: Andy at October 2, 2004 at 05:34 PM

Andy, possession of the current model infantryman's weapon is mandatory for many Swiss, furthermore there are little or no gun controls, Swiss may own a working howitzer if they wish. Excuse me, but I have missed all the news of Swiss slaughtering each other over traffic disputes etc etc.
Glad to see you don't agree with the anti-gun zealots re gun control = will be less suicides.
Plenty of restriction on gun ownership in Chechnya & environs Andy, perhaps all those kids who were shot in Russia (& about to be awarded a posthumous Order of the Stuffed Koala) weren't really shot at all? After all, gun control SURELY = we all hold hands at the bottom of the garden & enjoy an enhanced lifestyle? Surely?

Posted by: Steve at October 2, 2004 at 06:28 PM

Trouble with this country....and other countries today...is the advancement of medicine allowed lots of wooly-minded fruitloops to survive their childhood diseases ...you fill out the rest.
The introduction of gun laws in this country did NOTHING but aggravate law abiding gun owners of which I was one. Never shot a Hooman Bean in my life. Right now if I had ill intent I can buy a gun now for you or myself in less than a day's notice. Sure, being illegal, it will cost heaps but with ill intent that will be the least of my/your priorities. Howard, notwithstanding the Commonwealth did not, do not, have jurisdiction over gun legislation....it being a State responsibility. .... jumped at the opportunity.
You were conned boy-o !!
p.s. Comparing Aust to the US is absurd....we were never allowed automatic assault weapons and rightly so because they are specifically designed to kill people.

Posted by: JD at October 2, 2004 at 06:31 PM

Howard could claim no greater achievement than keeping Australia from going down the european road of islamification from which there is little hope of return.
Anyone who has read Bat Yeor knows what the hell of living as a minority under Islam means and we must do all we can to prevent this happening to our grandchildren. The current demography of australia can prevent this ever happening.
As bat yeor explains, minority christian communities, such as the Assyrian and maronite christian were regularly culled ( i believe the modern term is "ethnically cleansed") to keep judeo christian communities below acceptable levels.(around 7%)
we of western civilistion could never engage in such murderous activities and must never allow demography to ultimately destriy our own democracy from within.

Posted by: davo at October 2, 2004 at 06:33 PM

Porr pussy-wussy wharfies scared of the big bad rottweilers.

Hope they weren't too much inconvenienced collecting their million dollar overtime entitlements, and all the other cushy scams they've got going.

What a laugh! Wharfies as victims!

Typical of a world gone mad, where the virtuous are spat on while the thugs are pampered...

Posted by: Om at October 2, 2004 at 06:36 PM

Gosh JD, I don't want to possibly breach US national security in comments thread, but if you read the (issued to US soldiers) "Soldier's Manual" you will know it is about 1" thick & is entirely devoted to instructing the soldier how to use his automatic assault weapon. Almost nowhere does it deal with the straightforward job of using the rifle to kill people. Automatic assault rifles are in fact designed with many considerations in mind, & if a rifle was designed purely for the purpose of killing people, it would be look, & be engineered MUCH differently indeed.

Posted by: Steve at October 2, 2004 at 06:37 PM

Steve, for all your comments regarding low-crime countries with loose gun control, you are ignoring the fundamental issue. Relaxing gun controls is hardly going to lead to a decrease in gun crime in a country without a gun culture, is it? The point is, there is no argument to be made that can prove it is in Australia's public interest to relax gun controls, so why on earth should we? Just because you provide some anecdotal arguments about other countries with different cultures doesn't change the basic fact that most Australians don't like or want guns. It's that simple.

Posted by: Rob G at October 2, 2004 at 06:44 PM

In countries with no gun control at all (eg, Iraq, Afgh.) there is lots of death from shooting.

Come on, I'm not really pro-gun at all, but even I can see the fallacy here.

If the Iraqi government were to put in anti-gun laws I very much doubt it would do anything at the moment.

Posted by: Quentin George at October 2, 2004 at 06:44 PM

One credit that I'm (sort of) surprised Adams didn't also extend to John Howard was the honouring of our blood debt to the people of East Timor. It was long a fashionable (and right) cause over on the Left to support East Timorese independence. But it took a conservative of Howard's courage and gravitas to end the cosy 'insider' consensus among foreign policy types on the Indonesian relationship and do what we should have done a long time ago.

Posted by: Alex at October 2, 2004 at 07:00 PM

rob g, speak for yourself. i like guns and i'm an aussie. an armed society is a civil society.

Posted by: rosceo at October 2, 2004 at 07:00 PM

Gosh, we are beginning to sound like a bunch of loners sitting at our computers "wearing pyjamas". In between *puff*pant* carrying loads of wine into the cellar, I suggest to you Rob G, that relaxing gun controls = persons other than criminals may own one, the possibility of being shot dead by an irate intended victim is one helluva deterrent for crooks. I have not yet begun to make an argument that relaxing gun controls will be in Australia's best interests, nor am I inclined to, we are getting a shade off topic!

Posted by: Steve at October 2, 2004 at 07:12 PM

Indeed. As I said somewhere, I feel there is a need for guns. Just not certain types of guns.

Blame the shitty posts on a sever lack of sleep

Damm working nights at one job, other work during the day.

A gun is designed to kill stuff. Pure and simple. And becasue of this, guns that make the process a hell of a lot easier shouldn't be available to the general public. Armed forces? Hell yes.

As for gun supply - the number of sever risk taking events to get security guards guns (Hornsby shopping center, Broadway) indicate that the supply is not particulary good.

Posted by: Andy at October 2, 2004 at 07:39 PM

I don't have a gun. I have a baseball bat. My son has a baseball bat. My husband has a 7 iron. We keep these implements beside our beds and have done so ever since some person(s) tried (several times) to break into our house while we were sleeping despite the evidence (three cars in the driveway) that the place was full of adult persons. Very bold person(s) indeed.

I don't relish the thought of having to get up close enough to such a break-in person to be able to whack him (them?) with my baseball bat, especially not when I consider that such persons are likely to be far younger and stronger than I am and will probably also carry nasty blood borne viruses.

I think I would like a gun. I promise I would learn how to care for and keep it properly, as well as how to shoot specified body parts from a distance so that the outcome would be a non-fatal (but stopping) wound that doesn't splatter blood all over me.

Then again, if I shot someone who broke into my house while I was sleeping, and if he survived, he would probably sue me, he would probably win and I would be reduced to penury. Or the police would charge me with something and I would go to jail like that poor English fellow. Actually all of that could happen if I injured them with the baseball bat and if they didn't rip it off me and bash me to death with it.

Which illustrates that the problem is not guns but decadence; decadent people, decadent society, decadent laws.

Posted by: Janice at October 2, 2004 at 08:38 PM

WRT to firearms:

You are all missing the point.

A firearm is an INAMINATE OBJECT. It does nothing without a user.

How, and for what it is used depends entirely on users' knowledge and intention.

Firearms do have a legitimate use in society, sport, recreation, self-defence, agruculture.

Why should we let criminals spoil it for people making legitimate use of firearms?

Guns are not the problem, they never were, they never will be. Criminals are the problem, therefore we should deal with criminals.

Here's what I propose, scrap all gun laws, and punitive taxes, specifically grant the right of a citizen to use deadly force in the defence of themselves, their family, and bystanders where circumstances justify it, remove the right of a criminal to sue their victim (where the victim has complied with the law), and automatically double the sentence for anyone who committs a crime while using a firearm.

Posted by: Sheriff at October 2, 2004 at 10:23 PM

Yes, we've got strict gun control laws here in Victoria, thanks to Howard's leadership. But at last count around 25 of Victoria's hardest crims have been knocked with firearms in a war over the state's amphetamine franchise. In the meantime, farmers, sporting shooters and defensive property owners must run all sorts of regulatory interference just to hang onto their firearms. We need less law and more common sense.

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Posted by: Zed at October 3, 2004 at 03:52 AM