The political scene in Australia is a majority coalition of Liberals (Conservatives by way of policy) with the National Party, who represent the country town and farming communities.
Canada shares the same Westminster system but many Canadians may be surprised to learn Australia played a pivotal role in the recent election strategy for Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper and his party. Youthful Stephen pictured with his wife Laureen and young children looks an unlikely chum of the much older conservative Howard but apparently the 2 are good buddies. They are already looking forward to forging a closer alliance between their 2 countries.
According to Tony Walker from Ottawa reporting in the Australian Financial Review recently Canada was heavily influenced by our Conservative Prime Minster.
Hence the headline news “CONSERVATIVE CANADA FOLLOWS HOWARD”
Harper by all acounts followed closely the ABC playbook of John Howard’s whose personal staff has doubled in minders /advisors since he first became Prime Minster 10 years ago.
Howard is a skilful Politician and adapt at the art of wedge politics. It was reported Canadian party spokesperson Tim Peters said "The Conservatives had studied each of Mr J Howard’s 4 election victories extensively and learned from them."
John’s a regular to GW Bush’s ranch and built up such a close working relationship we have the benefits of a new free new Trade Agreement with the US. Don’t be concerned the numbers reveal a deterioration in our net income position with the USA since, as the facts should never be allowed to mess up a good story and who wants to read all that b…….y fine print anyway !!.These guys are big picture men.
Howard met Harper and discussed strategy last year when they were in Washington.
John Howard’s keen to make his mark ever since GW Bush remarked Johns my Deputy Sheriff down under for the region!! John responded then by saying …or shucks that just some Texas humour, but he maybe taking it all seriously after all and extending his influence to young Harper in Canada.
Spokesperson for Harper Tim Powers also said Canadian Conservatives have also absorbed lessons from the book Dark Victory by David Marr and Marian Wilkinson which documented Mr Howard’s use of wedge politics in the asylum seekers issues to bolster his support in the tough 2001 election.
Liberal Party Director Brian Loghaner has also provided advice. Slogans Like “Stand up for Canada” which I understand were conerstones to electioneering in Canada reveals just how far reaching this advice has permeated their political scene.
Harper also learned from Howard how to dislodge “working class and lower middle class families from their traditional political roots”.
Where do you think the first call of congratulations came from? Down Under of course !!
Tony Walker reporting in the Financial Review of the 27th January 2006 said the Australian Prime Minster expressed his delight at Harpers electoral success and said he looked forward to working closely with him.
To Canadians privy too the conversation it was as if Howard was welcoming a protégé into the game of Politics. And in a way he was.