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John Howard and the myth of the fifties man

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Canteen Worker, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    The tenth anniversary this week of John Howard's election as prime minister will, no doubt, offer another opportunity for his critics to characterise him as a man steeped in the past, in the 1950s. They could not be more wrong. Howard has repudiated everything the 1950s stood for in Australia.

    It was Paul Keating's favourite game, ribbing Howard about being yesterday's man, a cultural artefact like "the Astor TV, the AWA radiogram and the Morphy Richards toaster".

    It was a cute line, referring more perhaps to Howard's personal style. It certainly could not refer to his ideology, because the prime minister has set out to destroy the essential value of the fifties -- the notion of an egalitarian community.

    For the cultural and libertarian left, the fifties may have been a stultifying period, although its adherents created their own literary and even moral counterculture in The Push. Certainly, some of our most creative and witty minds, such as Clive James and Robert Hughes, fled for the bright lights of London or New York.

    But for those who remained behind, Australia was a civilised, if not somnolent, country. It was certainly one of the fairest places on earth, not withstanding the paternalism of some social policies, particularly toward Aboriginal Australians. It had one of the most even distributions of wealth of any western nation and the kind of obscene market-driven executive salaries were largely non-existent.

    As Geoffrey Blainey, Howard's favourite historian, points out, the fifties was also a time of massive public sector, taxpayer-funded investment in vital national infrastructure, including the very university system Howard despises and seeks to enfeeble. The government saw its role as nation-building.

    Most of all, it was the era of what political journalist Paul Kelly has described as the "Australian settlement", which guaranteed a legitimate place in national economic management to the trade unions, which represented almost two thirds of workers. The overwhelming national ethos was one of social solidarity -- and Howard hated it.

    The historian Judith Brett, who knows the mindset of Howard better than any Australian commentator or intellectual, argues in her excellent book, Australian Liberals and the Moral Middle Class, that Howard is one of the most radical prime ministers in our history, with a devotion to the near-absolute free market that is wildly at odds with the man on whom he models himself, Liberal Party founder Robert Menzies.

    For Howard, the Australia of the fifties -- the Australia of Menzies -- would have been a cosseted country, full of people far too dependent on the state for their education, their livelihoods and their retirements. Industry would have been run by patrician types, far too ready to deal with unions and not brave enough to expose themselves to the chill winds of pure capitalism. Society would have been far too deferential to university professors, instead of entrepreneurs and corporate CEOs, and the sacrosanct union picnic day a blight on the national calendar and character.

    John Winston Howard as a man of the fifties, as a Sandy Stone-like antiquity, is an appealing caricature for his opponents. The problem is that the fifties, with all its essential decency, represented everything he hates.
     
  2. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    Byso will ride in on his white charger soon to defend little Johnny
     
  3. byso

    byso Well-Known Member

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    What do I care, Labor hasn't got a chance in hell with Shultz running there asylum :wall:
     
  4. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    how Labor hasnt put Howard away after this AWB stuff just shows how politically incompetent they are and how dumb the australian public is. Because even after this scandal Australians will listen to little johnnies lies because it reflects our hip pocket
     
  5. The Fonz

    The Fonz Member

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    I would like to see a Mark Vaile led Government.
     
  6. Narcissus

    Narcissus Member

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    Dan: I think you should take Drae to the doc. It looks like he has one huge ugly dick between those legs of his!
     
  7. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    dont get me started or i will post a pick of you!
     
  8. Guest

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    Not as frightening as a mark latham led government. And to think that we were so close to having him be our prime minister.

    Imagine question time in parliament. Anyone who disagreed with him he would take to them with a claw hammer like he did that camera.
     
  9. byso

    byso Well-Known Member

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    Ah Latham what a sham he was. I still remember the Latham fan club on ST.

    Hasn't CW, Hopium and Mata been quiet on the political front since Latham revealed his true colours :)
     
  10. Spuds Bodyguard

    Spuds Bodyguard Active Member

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    How bout dickhead Downer's form. Denies any knowledge of the AWB kickbacks, then all of a sudden, that's right I knew six years ago, (but was hoping you wouldn't find out). And what the **** has the fat prick Beasley done about it, nothing.

    It's a shame the democrats are such a useless party, otherwise they may be a viable alternative to the current bunch of fools.
     
  11. byso

    byso Well-Known Member

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    If Natashia was leader they would get more votes than Shultz
     
  12. Narcissus

    Narcissus Member

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    Ah... the joy of kickbacks.

    In Canada the Liberal government were accused of paying large contract rates for dubious amounts of work. They were accused of paying out millions of dollars for no work. Maybe up to and over ten million dollars everyone was saying. It was an outrage!

    The PM said "look, there's nothing going on here. No way did we pay millions of useless invoices. If we did, it wouldn't have been any more than $100,000. We'll set up an inquiry and prove it".

    The results? Yes, there were invoices paid for no real work. Was it the $100,000 that the PM said? Was it the millions the opposition said? Was it the tens of millions the crackpots said?

    No. In fact, the inquiry found that somewhere between $100M and $250M were paid out in these scams.

    Now, I don't care if a politician lies about that kind of stuff. I mean, I do care, but they're going to lie anyway. I don't expect them not to lie about it, I guess.

    Where I draw the line is the stupidity that he showed when he didn't realise it was so bad. If you're a leader and you're dumb enough to set up an inquiry for something like that, then you obviously don't know what's going on.

    That, my friends, is where you deserve the bitch slap. It's not that you were slimy enough to do it: it's that you were dumb enough to let people look in to it!
     
  13. byso

    byso Well-Known Member

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    You would of been a good minister for Neville Wran ;)
     
  14. The Fonz

    The Fonz Member

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    Better the devil you know i reckon.
     
  15. PJ

    PJ Well-Known Member

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    Yeah agreed Fonz...
    I would consider myself a swinging voter but unfortunately the Labor party has left me with little choice but to vote against them recently because all they seem to come up with is oppossing Liberal Party policies and very little of their own....they are a joke.
    While not a Howard fan as such, he is a good leader and he does have the countries best interests at heart unlike someother politicans who self interest always seems to shine on through.
    Mark Vaile is a tool/ puppet, he cannot answer questions off the cuff and only reads from prepared statements.
    I interviewed him last time he came to town and after asking him a question to do with the National party falling in a heap he just rattled on about something else- afterwards I asked if he even bothered to listen to the question and he walked out in a huff- fcukwit!
    While I don't go much on Vaile, the King Pin in the tool department is Tony Abbot! He is a wanker of the highest order and it is very dangerous that we have someone like him in parliament. Each election I hope by some miracle, that he gets voted out. If you thought Fred Nile was the biggest religous extremist we have in parliament- take a closer look at this guy!
     
  16. Fluffy

    Fluffy Well-Known Member

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    Its interesting how howard still has no idea of anything bad ever happening. Kinda like the CEO thing posted elsewhere - well he is the CEO and knows nothing - had it been private sector he possibly could be jailed for some of these things.

    I still dont get why he hates education so much - without the uni system he would have been educated (although a lot of the time it makes you wonder whether he was in the lectures or at the bar) as he quite happily rorted the system as he sees it when he grew up. He is jsut such a hypocrite.

    and yes beaazley needs to grow some balls
     
  17. PJ

    PJ Well-Known Member

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    agreed- it's funny that most of the pollies at the moment would've had to pay very little for their education very hypocritical!
     
  18. byso

    byso Well-Known Member

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  19. PJ

    PJ Well-Known Member

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    HECS are an ongoing nightmare which also can be linked to the fact that not many can now afford to buy there own homes!
     
  20. Fluffy

    Fluffy Well-Known Member

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    Yes , we now pay HECS, more than he did since you are such a genious answer me this - Who wants to get rid of HECS??

    Ill give you a clue - he is the prime minister of a large country in the southern hemisphere
     

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