Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was booted out in the 2007 elections. He had been Prime Minister for 11 years and in that time he had taken the country to war and divided the country on issues like Aboriginal reconciliation and workplace reforms. The Howard Years, a four part documentary originally screened on the ABC, is now online and available to view for free and takes a detailed look at the legacy of his Prime Ministership. The four part series explores in greater detail than ever before Howard's fractured relationship with his deputy and heir apparent, Peter Costello, and also contains some startling revelations from Howard Government ministers that many candidly admit they would never have told you while they were still in Government.
Australian dock workers will stop work for a minute today to remember the Patrick stevedores dispute, an industrial dispute that involved the stevedoring corporation Patricks, the Howard government and the Maritime Union of Australia. A landmark event in Australian political and legal history, the dispute saw dock workers stand "in the first line against the Howard government and the Patrick corporation that was seeking to remove their legal rights, their right to go to work [and] the right to collective bargaining." In its wake, the event generated debate about the role of unions in Australia, an alleged conspiracy between Patricks and the former Howard Government and even spawned a controversial TV mini-series, Bastard Boys. For more history and analysis of the dispute, you can read about it from the view of the MUA or this account but for the definitive analysis see here.
And we're off! Prime Minister John Howard has set the date for the Australian Federal election as November 24th, meaning we're up for a long six-week campaign. With Kevin Rudd leading the PM by between 16 to 18 points (depending on who you read) in recent opinion polls, this election seems the most likely to provide a change of Government since Howard was first elected 11 years ago. Antony Green's usual excellent election guide is up and running here, along with an excellent calculator which shows which seats are up for grabs dependent on a 2 party preferred swing. You might also want to check out the Vote-O-Matic, a fun but entirely disposable quiz which aims to help you decide who you'll vote for. [more inside]
People vandalising Wikipedia is hardly a new thing but now even the office of the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, is getting into the act. Website Wiki-Scanner (previously) has traced several edits to Wikipedia articles by the Prime Ministers staff, according to Australian newspaper The Courier Mail. And they aren't confined solely to the Wikipedia entry on the PM himself; there was even an act of vandalism on a martial-arts related entry, in which one of Howard's ministerial staffers wrote, “Poo bum dicky wee wee” on the page. Not good news on the eve of a federal election that the PM is largely expected to lose. Meanwhile, 'new media' is being put to good use at Opposition leader Kevin Rudd's website, Kevin07, where a recent blog entry compiles Youtube's 'best' political videos. Hours of fun for the whole family!
Cabinet: The Movie. Starring Australian PM John Howard and a bunch of chickens. [more inside]
As the countdown to the Australian federal election continues ever onward, the key issue looks set to be industrial relations. The incumbent Howard Government's WorkChoices laws (now re-branded due to their increasing unpopularity) have seen the poll figures for challenger Kevin Rudd go up and up and up. But even as the Government prepares to unleash a major advertisement spree in an attempt to sell the alleged benefits of Work Choices, the new laws have come under attack from the most unlikely of places; popular prime time TV soap McLeod's Daughters, which last night aired this thinly veiled assault (youtube) on the central element of WorkChoices, AWAs.
Today marks Australian Prime Minister John Howard's tenth year in the top job. The event has sparked the usual calls of when, if ever, he will step down to make way for his annointed successor, Peter Costello, and has also opened the flood gates on a range of editorial criticisms and praise from the usual suspects. But even with a new poll released today claiming that he is the most popular PM in Australia's modern political history, will the continuing AWB scandal (previously discussed in one of my own FPP posts here) and an unhappy Coalition partner finally end his seemingly endless run of political good fortune?