I was very sad to read that Australian Prime Minister John Howard lost the election, especially because Australians turned Left to defeat him. I wonder just how long they’ll be happy with new PM Rudd’s plans to mess with Australia’s economy (which will inevitably happen with Labor in power), an economy that even CCN admits is a “strong economy that has produced more than a decade of growth and record low levels of unemployment.”
Right now, considering how effective the Surge is, the least unsettling change Rudd is planning on making is withdrawing Australian troops from Iraq by mi-2008. By that time, Australia won’t be a rat leaving a sinking ship; it will be a rat leaving (one hopes) a thriving ship. Additionally, since Australia’s contribution only numbers 550 troops (bless them), its contribution is more in the morale, than the practical, direction.
Rudd is also planning on ratifying the Kyoto accord which, I’ll remind you, even Clinton wouldn’t ratify — it’s that useless. So apparently Australians are happy to go for grandstanding and showboating in the face of actually effective political leadership.
Still, Howard was in office for a long, long time (12 years to be precise), and there is no doubt that, when nations are not in crisis, they like a change. The school of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” somehow doesn’t apply. After 12 years of same old, same old, no matter how successful it’s been, people want something new and different. Also, to the extent that even the best government can’t fix all problems, there is always the hope — usually false — that the new government will leave what’s good in place, while fixing what was bad. I say “usually false” because, if it’s a Labor new government, it won’t be able to resist fixing everything, an approach that will result in, at best, an outcome as mixed as the old government’s results.
UPDATE: When I was trying to get some background information about new Australian PM Rudd, I had a very hard time. The Australian press was very impenetrable to me, both because I don’t have a deep understanding of the current Australian political system or of the specific issues the voters faced, and because the Press didn’t actually say anything. Everything was conclusory; there were very few details. Apparently that wasn’t just me doing poor research. A Queensland woman (and a self-professed conservative) has written a long letter to American Thinker explaining that their media is much like ours, and that, while reporters glossed over any differences Rudd’s election would bring, these differences are, in fact, many and significant.