Another difference between US and Australian conservatives

Readers of this blog will know that I share Paul Krugman’s view that the US Republicans are a crazy, scary bunch. And during the Howard years there were lots of people who argued that Howard was the same.  Which is ridiculous.  He was sympathetic to the Crazy Party of the United States, and he did steal from their playbook, but mostly in the department of the culture wars – at which he was no slouch himself.

He never trashed the budget the way the Crazies can’t help doing. And this column by Paul Krugman reminds me that there’s something else they didn’t do for which I must say I’m very grateful.  They didn’t cut the top marginal rate of tax until right at the end of their term of office, when they were, in part responding (and responding in a fairly minimal fashion) to the urgings of ALP politicians.

And on thinking about it, I can think of another major difference – Howard supported gun control, whereas I think the Republican policy is to issue automatic machine guns to all kids on presentation of the first of their milk teeth to fall out. There’s also compulsory voting I guess.

Any other blessings to count oh Troppodillians?

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Andrew
Andrew
11 years ago

Supply-side economics only rarely rears its ugly head here. Racial populism is relatively tame in Australia, only manifests as dog-whistling and is not rooted in conviction on either side of politics. The fundamental responsibility of the government for certain public goods, such as a basic welfare net, infrastructure, health, education etc., are bipartisan. We’re spared imperial adventurism; even when Howard committed to Iraq, it was a propaganda force more than anything.

conrad
conrad
11 years ago

We don’t have an insanely high military budget. Even better, a lot of our expensive military hardware doesn’t appear to work very well, and no-one really seems to care.

Matt C
11 years ago

I’m glad they never introduced time limits for payments like NewStart, although they significantly tightened eligibility and activity tests.

Matt C
11 years ago

The conservatives here haven’t been as aggressively anti-abortion as conservatives in the US, for which we can all be thankful. It’s not a partisan issue here and I’m very glad of that.

Roger
Roger
11 years ago

The Tea Party crazies are crazed in part by their religiosity. So far, not many on the Oz right suffer this mental condition.

Matt C
11 years ago

I wonder, though, how much of the relative moderation of the Howard Government can be ascribed to genuine moderation within the Coalition, and how much is a function of their lack of a majority in the Senate from 1996-2005. I think that if they had had control of both chambers for more of their time in office, the conservatives would have been more extreme on issues like restricting welfare eligibility.

Matt C
11 years ago

Overseas aid is another area to mention. Conservatives get some mileage in the US by opposing aid, whereas there seems to be bipartisan support here for aid. As with the death penalty (good suggestion), I think a conservative with a populist bent could get a lot of mileage from opposing foreign aid.

Roger
Roger
11 years ago

In the crazy, scary department, one also finds the kind of raw and robust stupidity that yields the widely held views that Obama was not born in America, and that he is really a Muslim.

Melaleuca
11 years ago

Oz conservatives don’t believe Julia Gillard is a Muslim!

SJ
SJ
11 years ago

The conservatives here haven’t been as aggressively anti-abortion as conservatives in the US, for which we can all be thankful. It’s not a partisan issue here and I’m very glad of that.

Oz conservatives embraced Medicare

Neither of these points are strictly correct.

Howard tried for years and years to gut Medicare, introduced penalties for not having private insurance, and introduced subsidies for private insurance.

RU486 was banned in 1996, but the ban got overturned on a conscience vote in 2005. Mr Rabbit was one of the more outspoken opponents of overturning the ban.

Alphonse
Alphonse
11 years ago

Even under Howard, our financial and prudential regulators didn’t brandish chain saws.

Grant Musgrove
Grant Musgrove
11 years ago

Aussie conservatives do not seem to be at risk of being hijacked by the tea party , unlike the Republicans in 2010-11