Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bush ally Howard suffers huge defeat in Australian elections

Australian leader John Howard, a close friend of George W. Bush and the leader of Australia's conservative "Liberal" Party, has been ousted from power:
For eleven years he dominated his country's politics, an often controversial figure who led Australia into a war against Iraq and resisted efforts to curb global warming. But yesterday John Howard, the leader of its conservative Liberal Party, was decisively defeated by a bookish Christian promising a gentler and more unified country.

As Labor party leader Kevin Rudd swept to victory in Australia's elections yesterday, he told jubilant supporters he would 'write a new page in our nation's history'.

His victory marked a humiliating end to the career of Howard after voters turned on their aging Prime Minister with ferocity. The scale of the 'Rudd-slide' surpassed all expectations, with the Labor party winning more seats than it had hoped for. The new leader said Australia was 'moving forward to plan, prepare and embrace the future'.
It appears likely that Howard will even lose his own seat (he represents the Division of Bennelong), to Labour challenger Maxine McKew.

Howard's departure means changes in Australian public policy are on the way, including a new approach to the climate crisis:
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd hit the ground running today, saying he will choose his new Labor ministry within days so a long list of key challenges can be tackled.

Triumphant Labor MPs will meet in Canberra on Thursday and a cabinet would be sworn in soon after that.

[...]

Mr Rudd identified education, health, broadband and other infrastructure, climate change and water, and industrial relations as priorities along with helping financially stretched working family with things like childcare.

[...]

Mr Rudd said he would begin looking at the formal mechanisms required to have Australia ratify the Kyoto Protocols on Climate Change and that President Yudhoyono had formally invited him to the upcoming Climate Change summit in Bali .

The prime minister also stressed the "centrality" to Australian foreign policy of the US alliance. He said President Bush had been responsive to his desire to visit the United States next year.
Howard might as well be a member of the GOP here in the United States, given some of the dumb things he's said:
If I was running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats.
Rudd's win is a great victory for Australia, the United States, and the world. The nation now has a chance to move forward under more progressive leadership. It'll be fun watching the new Prime Minister in action.

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