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Howard’s presence on the campaign trail shows voters have a short memory

Crikey readers discuss Tony Abbott's Warringah fight, John Howard and Labor's campaign.

Climate Policy
(Image: AAP/David Moir)

Readers were pleased to hear that Crikey’s Warringah bureau — staffed solely by the indefatigable Charlie Lewis — had finally come face-to-face this week with Tony Abbott, who was dragging John Howard around a mall. Some readers were sceptical of the impact Howard will have on Abbott’s chances; others weren’t so sure. Elsewhere, readers discussed Labor’s election campaign and the veracity of the polls. 

On Abbott and Howard on the campaign trail

Malcolm Burr writes: Why is Howard trotted out like a living treasure when he was so consumed by hubris and his own invincibility that he completely misread the Australian electorate and lost government and his own seat. It would appear that some people have short memories.

Irfan Yusuf writes: Tony Abbott will win this. His local connections are too strong. Even those who disagree with him on climate change and other issues still respect him and support him for other things. And having enemies like GetUp is the equivalent of having lots of extra friends.

Mark E Smith writes: I loathed Howard before, during and after those terrible years of the top gig. However, credit to the man for being the most effective Australian politician in my living memory. The damage still lives today. I doubt we’ll remember Tony much ten years after he gets the boot.

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On Labor’s fight

Vicki Kiryakakis writes: The reality we currently live in and so the Labor Party not only needs to run a perfect campaign but also find some way to reach voters who rely on the News Corp stable for their information. It’s hardly been a fair fight.

Marcus Hicks writes: The primary problem is that Newspoll relies on landlines for its polling and the number of landlines amongst registered voters has declined significantly and is almost non existent amongst the under-25 demographic (a demographic that has surged since the 2016 election). It might also partly explain why the Libs did worse in Queensland, Victoria and WA than the official polls were suggesting.

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3 years ago

Could Crikey stop highlighting comments that trot out the furphy about Newspoll and landlines? Go speak to your own contributor William Bowe about it. Thanks. Makes you look pig-ignorant.

3 years ago

What is all this about how Howard will be long remembered? Is it a good thing? Hitler will be long remembered too. Most effective politician? Effective in doing what? Same as Hitler. Very effective. Will be long remembered. Yes , yes, the Godwin Law. No problem. In this case Hitler fits so well!

3 years ago

A country gets the government it deserves.
The Drumpfster is not an aberration – rather, he is the very epitome of the Benighted States, ignorant, arrogant, a brutish narcissistic cowardly bully.
I fear that the Rodent was so successful because he too was the epitome of this country, what Donald Horne meant with his Lucky Country comment, a country that is fortunate that it had not (then) been utterly ruined by the rule of 2nd & 3rd class politicians.
Since the Rodent scuttled away to his gold plated hole in the wall, his love child, the Abbottrocity continued to emulate his heroic father figure – a 3rd rater indeed.
With Mr Shouty we are really scraping the bottom of the banality barrel but do we deserve better – are he and Lint Shlerbo the best this country can come up with?

steven westbrook
steven westbrook
3 years ago

Howard symbolises a continuing patter in Federal politics.. The ALP has perennial bad luck with economic cycles, commodity booms and busts and political dynamics that hand power to the Coalition just at the right moment.

The Scullin, Whitlam and Rudd governments all arrived just as an economic upswing was ending. The Chifley government misjudged the times and went out just as the Golden Years of Capitalism were starting.
Labor did not make it easier for itself with the internal explosion of the 1950s. Had it not been for the DLP, the ALP would have come in in 1961(due to a credit squeeze) or 1969 and got a slice of the economic easy times.

Fraser is something of an exception to my argument. He was trapped by the historic stagflation of the 70s and never quite managed to embed himself in the national mythology as a Liberal superior economic manager. He became vulnerable once the ALP regrouped and recast itself and his government went out on another international recession.

Hawke’s government arrived just at the start of an upswing and managed it succesfully until high interest rates gave the Liberals a talking point for years. . Keating’s government managed to delay judgement on the recession to the 1996 election.

The Rudd-Gillard big spend to stimulate the economy saved us from a recession, but suffered later due to a sudden collapse in commodity prices. Because the Coalition was not in power, it did not suffer the backlash that would have followed had they emulated the austerity programs in the USA and UK. (When they did try this later in 2014 it did not go down well with the electorate). The fatal internal dissension handed power to the Coalition just as commodity prices started to recover.

My point is that people make mental associations, and the fact that the Coalition has so often been in during times when they can afford to play Father Christmas has led many people to think that because they talk like accountants and hand out the goodies they must be better economic managers. I would hope that a possible Shorten government is not mugged by external economic forces.