Howard Out; Rudd In; Australia’s New Learning Curve Begins

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been denied a fifth term by Austrlian voters. Howard, who has been in office for 11 1/2 years, conceded to Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd.

What does the election mean? The general consensus seems to be that it is about specific political changes Australian voters want:

Former diplomat Mr Rudd, 50, presented himself as a new generation leader compared with the 68-year-old Mr Howard.

Voters warmed to his promise to pull Australian troops out of Iraq and sign the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, further isolating the US, which had received strong backing from Mr Howard.

The Labor victory marks only the sixth change of government in Australia since the Second World War.

The election was fought mainly on domestic issues, with Labor exploiting widespread anger at workplace laws and rising interest rates.

Australian troops out of Iraq, Kyoto Protocol, workplace laws, interest rates. These may be issues that affected the election, but it’s unlikely that voters who elected Rudd will be any more satisfied with the real-world results Rudd achieves in another 5 years. Rudd can pull Australian troops from Iraq, but the worldwide Islamic jihad will continue. Australia will remain a target for no reason other than the fact that every decent, successful, civilized democracy is a target. Australia can sign the Kyoto Protocal, and all it will do is to put a drag on its own economy. It will not save the world.

John Howard has been a staunch ally in the war against Islamic terrorism. Jules Crittenden comments here

The leftist print media seem determined to depict Howard’s defeat as “humiliating.” Humiliation is in the eye of the beholder. I see Howard as a decent man who has been removed from office in due course by the ordinary democratic process. It had to happen sooner or later. There is no humiliation in serving one’s country admirably and stepping down when voters make a different choice.

Now Australia will begin a new learning curve. This time, the leson will be how little Kevin Rudd can accomplish, and how the few things he does manage to achieve are either not helpful or downright unhelpful to Australia’s economy, culture, and national security. Things will look very different to Australians after a few years of Rudd. It is unlikely that Australians as a whole will be any better off or any happier than they are today under Howard’s leadership.

But we shall see. For Australia’s sake, I hope Rudd rises to the occasion and demonstrates wisdom and common sense. For good or ill, he is Australia’s leader for the time being, and for the sake of the Australian people and their allies around the world, it is wise to focus not on our differences, but on what we continue to have in common.

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