A collection of useful words arranged in satisfying ways for the benefit of future historians. (Also beneficial when faced with drunken red-faced Howard-Huggers at Christmas parties over the next month who embarrass the host by rudely asserting that Mr. Howard was the best Prime Minister ever)
Malcolm Mackerras (Presciently written in June 07)
Future history books will note that John Howard was one of two Prime ministers (the other being Ben Chifley) whose governments were defeated as a consequence of abusing Senate power, one of two (the other being Stanley Bruce) to lose his own seat at the general election defeat and one of two (the other being Robert Menzies) to serve 10 years in the top job.
Mungo MacCallum in Crikey
John Howard led us on a voyage driven by greed and fear, into parochialism and paranoia, selfishness and racism, bigotry and corruption, and other dark places in the Australian psyche where we never should have gone. It was a mean and ugly trip, and it will take us all a long time to recover.
The Liberal Party of John Howard, Philip Ruddock, Alexander Downer and Peter Costello is now a party of privilege and punishments. One that lacks that most basic of wellsprings: charity.
John Howard didn’t understand how great his opportunity was and how it could not be advanced by regressive and reactionary policies fuelled by social exclusion and division.
Peter Brent of Mumble
The putrid Howard brand of politics.
The consequences of Howards reign over the Liberal Party are only now starting to be revealed as the protective shield of government has been stripped away, exposing a cancerous organisation bereft of direction, devoid of true leadership, and completely incapable of withstanding the rigours of opposition and political life without the levers of power to protect them.
The man sucked his government and his party dry. He obviously had dedicated himself to keeping Peter Costello out of the prime ministership and ultimately he succeeded. During his leadership, the Liberals have managed to fall out of government in every state and territory. This is his legacy.
In the Howard government, all decisions of any consequence were made by the leader. Ministers took the flak Helen Coonan in communications, Kevin Andrews wherever he went, Ian Campbell and Malcolm Turnbull in the environment but they were salesmen and advisers. The decisions were made by one man, and as he became surrounded by sycophants and mentally removed from real life Australia, the quality of government deteriorated.
The [Howard] Government has been like someone who wins Tattslotto each and every day over a period of seven years and instead of investing for the future for themselves and their family, blows the lot on good times for themselves and their mates.
The overwhelming mark of Howards government was the supremacy of pragmatism over principle, politics over morality.
In the end, it was fitting both that Howard should attain great political success, and that his career should end in humiliating defeat. His ability deserved the one, and his misdeeds the other.
Howard has likely incinerated two generations of Liberal leadership on the bonfire of his own vanity.
The big lie of Liberal supremacy was economic management. In fact, they knew how to generate income, but not how to spend it. We could have been building what Europe built in this past decade – superb hospitals, bullet trains, schools and training centres, low cost public transport of luxurious quality, magnificent public housing. We pissed it all away on tax giveaways and consumer goods. On bloated homes that we will not be able to cool or heat, or sell, and cars we won’t be able to afford to drive. A party based on self interest may evaporate along with our rivers and lakes, and have no role to play in a world where we co-operate or die.
Bob Ellis (okay completely over the top I agree but what the hey?)
He thrives, as a rule, on death
Rex (thats me miraculously included amongst the above exulted company)
The Libs have just been lucky. They were lucky that the economic times were good to them, and they were lucky that the events unfolding during their tenure suited their bigoted nature.
No doubt theres plenty more that Ive missed, let me know in comments. The Christmas party hosts of Australia are counting on you.