From age to youth, from fear to hope, from private to public: Judith Brett on Howard’s loss and it’s implications

I’ve just read this piece by Judith Brett on why Howard will lose (it was written at the beginning of the campaign).  I don’t agree with it all, (why do people go on about that handshake? Even if it wasn’t a good look, it just seems amazing that it would have tipped too many votes) but I think the outline is pretty right.

In short, it was 1996 all over again.  The electorate didn’t like what they saw, were scared off by someone they feared would be worse (Hewson and Latham respectively) and whilst they may not have had baseball bats, they were not too happy and arranged for the departure of the incumbent – who would have been 71 at the end of the term he’s just tried to claim.

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Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
14 years ago

I think, Nicholas, you mean that the electors weren’t scared off by someone they feared could be worse….?

Pavlov's Cat
14 years ago

On the handshake, don’t underestimate how much women on both/all sides of politics disliked and distrusted Latham, who, whatever the truth may be, presented himself right from the beginning as a bully and a thug. The vicious monstering of a little bloke (even Ratty) by someone twice his weight and twice his height (well, almost) is the kind of thing that gives women nightmares.

The handshake was iconic, confirming everything we had all always already thought. A man physically capable of that kind of aggression — aggression so out of his control that he allows himself to be filmed expressing it at all, much less immediately before the election — is always going to provoke wariness, at best, in women.

I read a couple of pieces on feminism (well, no; vicious attacks on a particular feminist is what they really were) that Latham wrote for the Adelaide Review, commissioned by then editor Christopher Pearson, back before anyone much had heard of either of them. The articles were an absolute disgrace intellectually and in every other way, in their ignorance of feminism and their implicit contempt for women (they were, quite unintentionally, very revealing about the way Latham thinks about women). And I think most female voters had his number long before the day he ran into Howard at the radio station; it’s just that that confirmed everyone’s worst fears. Personally I voted Other in that election; it’s the only time I have ever done so, and it was the handshake that finally tipped the scales.

Confused of Heidelberg
14 years ago

Geoff, maybe he means “it was 1993 all over again”.

James Farrell
14 years ago

This has the makings of another competion. My entry:

‘…2007 was 1996 all over again. The electorate didnt like what they saw, were not scared off, as they had been at the preceding election, by someone they feared would be worse (Hewson and Latham respectively)…

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
14 years ago

I think we shared first prize but I’m too easygoing to make an issue of it.

James Farrell
14 years ago

A higher reward awaits you, Geoff.