In its first two terms, a kind of economic vision of Australia emerged from the Howard government. There were some areas, like tax and industrial relations, that amounted to unfinished business from the Hawke-Keating years. But the real Howard agenda was based on a concept that might be called Homo Aspirationis: a voter not merely freed to pursue individual enrichment, but incentivised to do so. Workers would break free of their union-imposed chains and become individual contractors and miniature corporations; they would send their children to private schools rather than rely on public education; they would live in sprawling McMansions funded by family tax benefits, they would use private healthcare instead of “socialised medicine”; they would share in the bounty of privatisation via asset sales targeted at “Mum and Dad shareholders” (the married, heterosexual, child-bearing couple of course being the Edenic state of Homo Aspirationis). Australia would become a shareholder democracy of rugged individualists heavily subsidised by government.

In the last two terms of that government, aspects of this vision lingered, but it was increasingly swamped by Howard’s constant bribing of voters and, once control of the Senate was secured, long-dormant psycho-pathologies such as Howard's hatred of the union movement, inculcated during the wages explosion of the early 1980s when he was treasurer.