Who? Yes, as most Aussies remember too well, that was John GWB Howard, our Prime Minister for eleven long years. But this week who can resist this?
Yes, it starts tonight and just about everyone is recommending it, even if it has been constrained by the condition that no commentators are allowed. Their own mouths, and reflection on what happened, will condemn much I suspect. Of course it wasn’t all bad after all… But so much was so truly dreadful, and some of the utterly shameful bits will no doubt surface, perhaps even, down the track, the famous comment linked above:
…LAURIE OAKES: On that subject, Senator Barack Obama’s announced overnight he’s running for the Democrat Presidential nomination, and he says if he gets it he has a plan to bring troops home by March, 2008 and his direct quote is “Letting the Iraqis know we’ll not be there forever is our last, best hope to pressure the Sunies and Shiah to come to the table and find peace”. So, basically he’s agreeing with the Labor Party.
JOHN HOWARD: Yes, I think he’s wrong, I mean, he’s a long way from being President of the United States. I think he’s wrong. I think that would just encourage those who wanted completely to destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for Obama victory. If I was running Al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats.
LAURIE OAKES: If he wins, and you’re still there, bad news for the alliance.
Which rather makes a mockery of the now Opposition’s righteousness over the “What’s the G20?” story and the endless analysis of the Bush handshake. But I suppose that’s politics. I have never believed that George Bush said that, by the way, but I can believe Kevin Rudd may have cracked an ill-timed funny. That, I think, may be what happened, though of course I don’t know.
Meanwhile as you watch The Howard Years spare a thought for the people I had much time for, the embattled moderates in the Liberal Party who had very lean times under JWH. The Sydney Morning Herald’s Phillip Coorey explores this today.
The travails of being a moderate Liberal during the Howard years are being well demonstrated in a series of new revelations, especially on that most controversial of topics, border protection.
John Howard was used to moderates Petro Georgiou, Judy Moylan and Bruce Baird agitating for change from the time border protection became an issue in the months before the election in 2001.
In The Howard Years, the four-part ABC TV series that begins tonight, both Georgiou and Baird bristle when recounting Howard’s now memorable line at the 2001 campaign launch about deciding who comes to this country and the circumstance in which they come.
Baird called it "smart politically" but "on a human basis, I was concerned".
Georgiou said: "When I first saw the slogan I just went ‘gulp’."…
An SBS documentary which JWH will not like takes the issue further on Wednesday night.
You may also read more about it here.
Everyone should watch this documentary. It explains how harshly people seeking asylum have been treated and how Australian Governments have too often returned, what they regard as failed asylum seekers, to situations of very real danger. When will we again find our humanity?
Malcolm Fraser, former Australian Prime Minister
Sometimes I feel ashamed to be an Australian. Watching A Well Founded Fear is surely one of those times. How could we have allowed this to happen? We all bear an immense personal responsibility, moral and legal, but no one so much as those who lead our nation in these inhuman policies. This documentary should lead us to two commitments. First, in spite of the policy changes under the Rudd government, we have not yet begun to make up for the profound harm we have caused. We must do that. Second, we must never allow this to happen again. Never, never, never.
Chris Sidoti, Former Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner
I will watch both, if the communal TV antenna gives me access to ABC as we still have a problem with that, but I am sure of access to SBS! 🙂
ABC has been restored here in Surry Hills… 🙂