The Sunday Age points out in an article and in an accompanying editorial just what is wrong with John Howard.
Well, Howard never personalizes things and never insults people and this has had a devastating effect on ‘public debate, once so volatile and imbued with invective and now so seemingly narrow’. In fact Howard uses ‘the national interest’ as a foil rather than ‘his personality or aura’. It is disgraceful.
The editorial points approvingly at how Paul Keating drove the national debate into unpopular areas such as cultural policy and the (rejected) republic. He also did a fair bit for inflation, public debt and unemployment. I was always grateful to Paul for helping me to understand my cultural identity. But for all their faults I am confident the Australia Labor Party can provide lots more vision and it has capabilities in personalizing debate and insulting people. A veritable conga line of invectiveness?
My question though. Where does one buy a decent Sunday newspaper in Melbourne? I haven’t seen one for years.
Update: I was tacked in the comments section below over my claim that giving the RBA monetary independence had been a major achievement of the Howard Government. Alan Wood in 'The Goldern Years' (in N Cater (ed) , The Howard Factor) supports my contention and sees the change as significant. At a press conference in 1995 Peter Costello said:
'...that monetary policy would be the responsibility of the RTeserve Bank and there won't be any sort of midnight calls or pressure or boasting, as you've got from Mr Keating on how he pulls the levers'....
Alan Wood goes on to remark:
'This was a watershed in the conduct of monetary policy bin Australia. It formally gave the RBA policy independence and ended the practise of consulting the government of the day before making interest rate changes...'
'This independence has been particularly important...For the politician (low) interest rates are the target, which is precisely why central banks need independence'. (page 74)