Friday, January 27

Harpers a Howard Vision

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.


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.


rachel burns said...

Interesting post. I wonder if Candada will follow Australia's bizarre "middle class welfare" programs. I find it interesting that Australia can't afford a free dental service for elderly pensioners but it can afford to give a baby bonus, (which is not means tested) of $3000 (rising to $5000 in 2008) to all new parents. This will cost $3.5 billion over four years.

This is just one example of many of Australia's middle class welfare initiatives. Billions are transferred to already wealthy households, but we are told that spending on the unemployed, the sick and the elderly must be curtailed because greater public spending and public debt will lead to upward pressure on interest rates.

National objectives have gradullay moved away from providing and improving essential services and helping those most in need to bribing the well-off for thier electoral support.

I hope Candada isn't facing the same sad fate.

Tina said...

I don't know enough about Australia's "middle class welfare" programs to truly comment on them, but at least a program that offers parents money gives thought to the fact that every new baby costs that family money.

The crazy conservatives in the US just want to heavily tax the middle class while giving the top wealthy 2% a free pass on paying their fair share of taxes.
Then they want to deny women any forms of birth control in the form of activist pharmacists, get rid of abortion under ANY conditions (including rape, incest and life of mother) and then offer zero social programs to help out those families in need, refuse to fund our kids' schools, and could care less than if almost 45 million Americans have absolutely no healthcare insurance at all and that our elderly are cutting their pills in half or skip taking them days at a time b/c they can't afford them.

When you have to give the top 2% of our US population massive tax cuts plus wage a war, I guess forcing babies to be born with no thought for how that baby will be fed, medically taken care of, educated, and paid for by parent/parents who don't even have a living wage makes sense in a conservative's head, huh?

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Rachael and Tina

The Australian political system up until about 10 years ago I think had a reasonable policy approach to targeting welfare as allowances were means tested.
What’s happened is a move way from that policy to target selective sensitive groups.

Australia has benefited from an improvement in the terms of trade that has resulted in “windfall” gains to the government in the form of higher tax revenue.

This government is the highest taxing ever.

Taxation as percentage of gross National Product is at a higher percentage than when it came to Office and its little wonder in the past 3 years the overall surplus of the government sector has grown to be around $14 Billion each year. All of the States also run large surpluses with the exception of SA.

Hence more generous policy indicatives, in line with a compassionate societal viewpoint could easily be accommodated to improve health outcomes and government services for its more disadvantaged citizens.

We are in danger, if that not already be the case of losing our egalitarian basis of our society.


Thanks for visiting

I often make the point I think it’s immoral to curtail support funding to the extent disadvantaged segments of our community feel they have no choice as consequence of economic restraints.

Our system of heath is suffering from increases running at 8% pa but at least we have a Medicare system that provides universal cover in public hospitals, and some bulk billing( by that I mean a Doctors visit is 100% covered )where the Dr bills the Govt.

Our education pre university system is state funded and under a system called Hex you can pay off a university degree out of future earnings. The hex cost is about 50% of the true cost of the University course cost. Our Universities have been under funded and encouraged to seek additional fees from overseas students who pay 100% of the cost and also to link to private sectors to earn income from specifically designed courses.

Many yerars ago it was free.
I think the position in the US is unsustainable.

That's primarily because of the huge twin deficits that curtently prevail.

Mainly due to the Iraq War cost and Defence spending you have the Govermnat deficit matched by an eqaully large current account Deficit. Both are being funded largely by Treasuries bought by Foreign countries.

Whats needed I think is an increase in Taxation, at the top end but nopbody it seems including the Demmo's want to talk about it.

Best wishes

Kathleen said...

That is very interesting. Thank-you for sharing it. Certainly our Conservative PMs have a history of chumminess with Republican Presidents. I was unaware of the Australian connection.

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Kathleen

Yes they are all part of the Club ....meeting up and making notes on strategies to be elected !!!

Granny said...


I've had better days politically speaking so just saying hi for now.

Will my country and its so-called leaders ever wake up?

My friend Tina (see prior comment) has a post tonight that I had to read twice to comprehend the enormity. I then posted it to isamericaburning. It doesn't speak well for some of us and the way we treat our military, especially the females.

Lindsay Lobe said...

Thanks Granny ---will visit.

Gary said...

You left this on my blog too and it's really interesting Lindsay. It's odd how the pendulum swings... most of Latin America heading left, Europe going both ways (and swinging less in any direction). Canada testing the right-waters out for a bit.

Guess the US is the one that's stuck without much swing right now. Time for the Democrats to show some spine and speak out. Win or lose, the Americans deserve a real choice.

Lindsay Lobe said...

Yes Gary I agree.

But the Demo’s are considered weak on protection.....Bush seen as strong in the polls!

It’s beyond my imagination why there is so much fear in the US ....why do you think that’s the case. Okay nearly 4.000 people were killed on that fateful day, but how many subsequently are killed in road accidents since. The chances of death at the hands of a terrorist are remote compared to the day to day risks on the roads, air, water and streets ...why such a fearful nation still!!

Hard I think for the Demo’s to counteract this type of mentality permeating a large slice of the population.

DA said...

I've learned a lot from this post but feel too uncomfortable to post my two cents..This is out of my league. I'll just follow this from behind the curtain Lindsay.