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Australian Federal Election 2007

Old 11-24-07, 09:42 AM
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Australian Federal Election 2007

Looks like the Labor Party are the winners.

<a href = "http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7109692.stm"><b>PM Howard concedes Australia poll</a></b>

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has admitted defeat in the country's general election, and looks set to lose his parliamentary seat.

Mr Howard said he had telephoned Labor leader Kevin Rudd "to congratulate him on an emphatic victory".

Mr Rudd said the country had "looked to the future" and he pledged to be a prime minister "for all Australians".

With 70% of votes counted, Labor were on course to win the 76 seats needed to form a government.

More than 20 constituencies from a total of 150 are still to produce a result, but Labor already has 72 seats compared with 48 for Mr Howard's Liberal-National coalition.

<b>Rare fate</b>

Amid cheers from Liberal Party faithful, Mr Howard said it had been a privilege to have served as prime minister since 1996.

"We've bequeathed to [Mr Rudd] a nation that is stronger and prouder and more prosperous than it was 11 and a half years ago," he said.

Mr Howard, who had been bidding for a fifth term in office, conceded the national election and accepted it was "very likely" he would also be defeated in his Bennelong constituency.

If unseated, the 68-year-old would be only the second prime minister in Australia's history to suffer such a fate.

Voters in Bennelong had elected Mr Howard in 13 consecutive elections over 33 years.

But with more than 50% of the votes counted in the constituency, figures from the electoral commission suggested he had lost the seat to Maxine McKew, a former TV journalist.

An exit poll conducted by Sky News and Channel 7 suggested a similar result.

<b>Anti-government backlash</b>

Labor leader Mr Rudd, a 50-year-old former diplomat, had led in opinion polls throughout the election campaign.

In his victory speech, he thanked Mr Howard for his "dignity" in defeat and for his "extensive contribution to public service".

He promised to "forge a new consensus" by ending the "old battles of the past" between business and unions, and between economic growth and environmental concerns.

During the campaign, Labor sought to capitalise on the Howard administration's refusal to sign the Kyoto protocol on climate change.

Mr Howard campaigned on his record of sound economic management.

The BBC's Nick Bryant, in Sydney, said Labor had swept back into power by harnessing an anti-government backlash.

Mr Howard had found himself on the wrong side of public opinion on the Kyoto protocol and the war in Iraq, our correspondent said. Many people also seemed to be simply tired of Mr Howard after 11 years of his rule.

Participating in elections is compulsory under Australian law and more than 13.5 million people were expected to vote.
For the uninitiated, there are two main parties in Australia, the Liberal Party, which is a right wing, conservative party, and the Labor Party, which is a center-left social democratic party. Important minor parties are the Green Party, which is a typical postmaterialist ecological party, and the National Party, which is conservative, agrarian party, and used to be called the Country Party.
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Old 11-24-07, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
For the uninitiated, there are two main parties in Australia, the Liberal Party, which is a right wing, conservative party, and the Labor Party, which is a center-left social democratic party. Important minor parties are the Green Party, which is a typical postmaterialist ecological party, and the National Party, which is conservative, agrarian party, and used to be called the Country Party.
The Labor Party is called "center-left" and the Liberal Party is called "right wing" above. However Howard has been governing with under a Liberal-National coalition which, in every story I've ever seen, is described as "center-right". But the National Party is also called "conservative" above which one wouldn't take to be "center".

So I'm wondering where the "center" comes from in those news descriptions?
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Old 11-24-07, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by X
The Labor Party is called "center-left" and the Liberal Party is called "right wing" above. However Howard has been governing with under a Liberal-National coalition which, in every story I've ever seen, is called "center-right". But the National Party is also described above as "conservative" which one wouldn't take to be "center".

So I'm wondering where the "center" comes from in those news descriptions?
Actually, I think those descriptions are mine, and I would consider the Liberals to be a "center-right" party. In other words, it was my error of omission.

A 1995 article from the journal <i>Party Politics</i> placed parties from 42 democracies on a left-right scale, on the basis of expert opinions by political scientists familiar with the politics of each individual nation. The Australian Labor Party was coded as 4.75, the Liberal Party 7.13. By way of comparison, the Democrats got a 4.15, the Republicans a 6.85.
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Old 11-24-07, 12:31 PM
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We'll have to stray from this thread topic - or else it's doomed to obscurity.

I speak from experience. I started a thread that I thought my bring about some thoughtful posts - 'EU staying in Bonia..............' Well, so much for what I thought.

How can we work abortion into this thread?
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Old 11-24-07, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
The Australian Labor Party was coded as 4.75, the Liberal Party 7.13. By way of comparison, the Democrats got a 4.15, the Republicans a 6.85.
It's interesting that the Labor Party isn't rated as "left" as Democrats yet they ran on a platform of ratifying Kyoto and pro-union. Perhaps it was a pullout from Iraq or just plain desire for change that people wanted most.
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Old 11-24-07, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by X
It's interesting that the Labor Party isn't rated as "left" as Democrats yet they ran on a platform of ratifying Kyoto and pro-union. Perhaps it was a pullout from Iraq or just plain desire for change that people wanted most.
After 11 years with the same PM, I'd think change might be a big factor.
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Old 11-24-07, 05:06 PM
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Now Australia will ratify Kyoto and the US will be the only evil first world country left. <img src="http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/teufel/a045.gif" alt="Evil Banana" />

Last edited by movielib; 11-25-07 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 11-24-07, 05:46 PM
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For me, the most disappointing aspect of this story was learning that aussie elections aren't decided in a Thunderdome.
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Old 11-24-07, 07:36 PM
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Apparently, this is only the second time in Australian history that a departing PM has also lost his seat in Parliament.
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Old 11-24-07, 08:58 PM
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I was talking about this with some guys in WoW last night - I think there were some last minute scandals that affected a number of things as well. Don't remember details -- something about phoney fliers and stuff. I didn't think Howard had been in power that long, but he has been a pretty solid US supporter. Rudd has already made a number of "faux pas" comments regarding terrorist suspects/trials in Indonesia. Personally I'm surprised that didn't sink him at home, but I haven't been tracking as much domestic Australian politics.
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Old 11-24-07, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Tuan Jim
I was talking about this with some guys in WoW last night


TuanJim: How about that Australian Election?
BigStick has invited you to join the guild "Noodleheads"
Request declined
Hoijfjkas: *** BUY WOW GOLD ** PST me!
Knewbie whispers "Can you spare 1g?"
Phloosey: Which character is best to solo with?
Darkney: Hunter
Lolla: Warlock
Knewbie whispers "Can you spare 1g?"
TuanJim: Anyone?
Darkney: Hunters are way better than warlocks
Hoijfjkas: *** BUY WOW GOLD ** PST me!
Zapphod: Need 3 more for RFC!
BigStick has invited you to join the guild "Noodleheads"


That's how WoW chats usually go for me..
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Old 11-24-07, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by General Zod


TuanJim: How about that Australian Election?
BigStick has invited you to join the guild "Noodleheads"
Request declined
Hoijfjkas: *** BUY WOW GOLD ** PST me!
Knewbie whispers "Can you spare 1g?"
Phloosey: Which character is best to solo with?
Darkney: Hunter
Lolla: Warlock
Knewbie whispers "Can you spare 1g?"
TuanJim: Anyone?
Darkney: Hunters are way better than warlocks
Hoijfjkas: *** BUY WOW GOLD ** PST me!
Zapphod: Need 3 more for RFC!
BigStick has invited you to join the guild "Noodleheads"


That's how WoW chats usually go for me..
Not quite. I was playing on an Oceanic server though - so a few more Aussies there.
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Old 11-26-07, 06:48 AM
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<a href = "http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article2936993.ece"><b>Australia’s mystery landslide</b></a>

Simon Benson

From The Sunday Times November 25, 2007

Don’t blame them, for they know not what they do. Australians are waking today and wondering what bizarre experiment they have been involved in. Or they may simply not care.

Unemployment is at a record 30-year low. Economic growth is running at 4%. And housing interest rates are still lower than a decade ago. Many Australians have never had it better, or so John Howard, their prime minister, had been telling them. And by any measure he was correct – right up until the point they turfed him out of office and from his own parliamentary seat.

It was a collective decision that in the cold light of day is deeply puzzling, so much so that political pundits are offering an assortment of explanations as to why Australians have sacked one of their most popular leaders after more than 11 years. Enlightened rationalisations range from Labor’s climate change policy of signing up to the Kyoto treaty, its pledge to pull troops from Iraq to simple boredom.

But why have voters so unceremoniously dumped a prime minister from his own seat after 33 years of service, one who has brought them untold prosperity, and replaced him with a female television journalist?

The world beyond its borders must be thinking the Antipodes has been too long in the sun.

Even Howard, the nation’s second longest serving conservative coalition leader, conceded in his valedictory speech that it was an “emphatic victory” for new prime minister Kevin Rudd and the Australian Labor party. He looked visibly distressed at events. A handful of cabinet ministers had fallen in electoral battle as well.

Just how emphatic his loss was can be measured by a simple fact. Only once before in Australian history has a leader lost both his seat and the national vote.

Some see it as delicious irony that the first prime minister to do the double was another conservative leader, Stanley Bruce, who had also attempted to rewrite laws governing working conditions more than 50 years ago. This, say Labor, was the reason behind the party’s historic election last night. Howard had indeed introduced a radical industrial relations policy in his last term of office, one which he had no mandate for.

But domestic policies alone cannot explain why Australians have abandoned their once most popular leader who, at the height of his game, had an approval rating of almost 70%.

The coalition, combining the dominant Liberal party and their rural cousins the Nationals, ruled by a 30-seat majority in a 150-seat parliament with the help of two conservative Independents. The magnitude of the task ahead of Labor was daunting. That it achieved a 6% swing, which delivered it not only the 16 seats required to take power but, on initial counting, a further 10 seats to govern with a comfortable majority, is extraordinary.

It wasn’t just a win, it was a landslide, or as they are calling it Down Under, a Ruddslide.

As mysterious as it all may seem, however, it is not without precedent, well perhaps not in Australia, but right here in the UK at least. The Labor party’s general secretary in the dominant state of NSW, Mark Arbib, freely admits that Rudd is unashamedly “new Labour”.

Just as Tony Blair had once come to Australia to study the former Labor prime minister Paul Keating’s electoral successes in the early 90s, the last time the party was in power, Rudd’s team was taking its cue from the 1997 election in Britain.

Labor in Australia has undergone a transition from a union-dominated membership base to a party of free thinking market reformers – or so Arbib would have us believe.

Proof of this, he says, was evident in the strength of cheering to the theme of fiscal conservatism at the party’s campaign launch. Old fashioned Labor supporters wondered whether they had turned up to the wrong launch.

Australian Labor even used Blair’s education theme to string its campaign together, promising an education revolution and plans to modernise. On the economy, Labor managed to neutralise the argument that it posed a danger by being the fortunate recipient of another unprecedented event – an interest rate rise in the middle of the campaign.

It then simply declared its support for the independence of the Reserve Bank – yet another 1997 Blair moment – and that was that. Rudd had made it safe to vote Labor again as did Blair and Gordon Brown in 1997.

And with that achieved, it came down to a question of longevity and whether Australians believed that under Howard, the country’s sense of a “fair go” had been eroded. Social equity, after all, has been a hallmark of Australia’s cultural identity.

Had Howard simply been in government too long? And had he taken Australia just a little too far to the right?

Arbib is young for a party boss at 37. Rudd is just 50. They are a young team. Howard on the other hand is 68. And his team has been around since 1996 with few changes to the top echelons of his cabinet during that time.

Did voters believe the hype that there was a mood for change? Probably. Was there a case for change? The majority obviously thought so.

When a generation of voters have never known tough economic times, as has been the case in Australia for 15 years, there is no inoculation against a mood for change.
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Old 11-26-07, 08:42 AM
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I thank you wendersfan for trying to raise the bar here and pump some value into the "...and Word Events" part of the forum. Other than reading the news articles, I don't have too much to add. I guess it would be interesting to see if the "Ozzies" ratify the Kyoto treaty as a result of this.
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Old 11-26-07, 08:56 AM
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Off topic, can anyone here recommend a good general history of Australia? I've been searching for one in vain.
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Old 11-27-07, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
Off topic, can anyone here recommend a good general history of Australia? I've been searching for one in vain.
I'd say start with "The Proposition", continue with "Gallipoli" and finish off with "Mad Max" - that should cover all your bases.
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Old 11-27-07, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
Off topic, can anyone here recommend a good general history of Australia? I've been searching for one in vain.
While it doesn't cover the history of Australia a lot, Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country is absolutely exceptional. It made me want to move there.

I always thought Howard's fall had everything to do with Bush:

An opinion poll on September 4th sent shudders through government ranks. After distribution of second votes under Australia's preferential system, it put Labor 18 points ahead of the government and Kevin Rudd, Labor's leader, 11 points ahead of Mr Howard as preferred prime minister. With these figures, Mr Howard would not just lose office; analysts say he would also lose Bennelong, whose once safe boundaries have shifted since the last election.

To compound Mr Howard's anxiety, the poll appeared on the day George Bush arrived in Sydney for a summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum (APEC). This gathering of 21 regional leaders to discuss climate change, trade liberalisation and closer business ties (without obligation to reach binding commitments on any of them) is the most powerful international assembly ever to convene in the country. Mr Howard had hoped that playing world statesman, with Australia's biggest, most dazzling city as backdrop, would boost his re-election chances.

Since APEC's planning, though, the political mood has shifted, especially against Mr Howard's staunch support for Mr Bush. An opinion poll on August 30th by the Lowy Institute, a Sydney think-tank, found 69% of Australians had an unfavourable view of America because of Mr Bush, and 63% because of America's foreign policies. Still, Mr Howard assured Mr Bush in Sydney that Australia would withdraw no troops from Iraq. He and Mr Bush announced stronger military ties, upgrading Australia's access to American equipment and intelligence.
http://www.economist.com/displayStor...TOKEN=54249526

(That was back in September).

Also, make sure to get your <a href="http://www.kevin07.com.au/get-involved/get-k07-gear/kevin-07-gear.html">Kevin 07</a> gear!
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Old 11-27-07, 08:26 AM
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Geez, no one? Really? I don't feel so bad for not being able to find one now.
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Old 11-27-07, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by The Bus
While it doesn't cover the history of Australia a lot, Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country is absolutely exceptional. It made me want to move there.
I've read that; I'm a big Bryson fan. Great book. I've also read the great history of Australian transportation, The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes. Still no general histories, though- all the books I come across are about Australia's founding, which is great and all, but I guess nothing happened in Australia in most of the 19th and all of the 20th Centuries.
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Old 11-27-07, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
Off topic, can anyone here recommend a good general history of Australia? I've been searching for one in vain.
A Concise History of Australia by Stuart Macintyre.

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