An interesting example of how short the public’s memory is from Essential Media today:


“We will use the majority we have,” Prime Minister John Howard said to applause back in 2005. “We’ll use it … soberly, wisely and sensibly. We won’t use it capriciously or wantonly or indiscriminately, and I make that solemn promise on your behalf to all of the Australian people.”

We won’t mention WorkChoices. Instead, let’s nominate the Northern Territory Intervention legislation as the most extreme example of the Howard government’s inclination to ram legislation through with the use of the Coalition’s Senate majority after the Prime Minister made that solemn promise. At the time, the government refused to consider any amendments and gave over a single day to debating legislation granting unprecedented powers to the government and by extension the military. In fact, the legislation was pushed through with such lightspeed that some Liberal MPs had no idea what they were voting for at the time.

Careful what you wish for.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey