It's on. JWH didn't want to do it on the weekend of the AFL grand final, or the weekend of the NRL grand final, and he didn't want to call it during the Olympics. The federal election will be held on October 9.
I'm going to leave the nuts and bolts of documenting this campaign to other bloggers to whom I shall link selectively, but I'll put my voting intention cards on the table right now.
I think that it is extremely important that the Howard Liberal/National Government is removed from office on October 9. In my view, John Howard is manifestly unsuitable to govern this country. He has presided over the most inhumane, most dishonest, most arrogant Australian government in my lifetime. He has done his darnedest to unravel much of the good work done by Hawke, Keating, Whitlam, even Fraser.
Multiculturalism has become almost a dirty word as JWH has sought to return to Anglocentric Menzian 1950s values. "For all of us" was his election campaign in 1996. For all of whom? This is the government that made Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party virtually redundant by absorbing some of its philosophies.
Australia would be a republic now - it had broadly bipartisan support in 1999 - if it were not for his personal spoiling tactics.
Tampa, and the "Children Overboard" fraud are two episodes that are part of the JWH legacy. But John Howard needs to be remembered most of all as the Prime Minister who led Australia into war as an aggressor. This is a disgrace that we will have to bear for many years to come.
The war on Iraq did not have the support of the Australian people - this was demonstrated on the streets of our cities on 16 February 2003. The decision to go to war did not even have bipartisan support within Parliament. The Senate voted against it, in a non-binding decision. Had the act of going to war in Iraq required legislative change, Australia would not have been there.
Howard's government is the first in our country's history to have been the subject of a successful no-confidence by the Senate - twice.
I support the election of the Australian Labor Party to government under Mark Latham, but not without reservations. I will discuss these at a later time. In my local electorate of Grayndler, I will, be voting for the re-election of the sitting Labor member, Anthony Albanese. He is a member of the ALP left, the shadow member for employment services, and in my view one of the more talented members of the Labor front bench.
In the half-senate election, I will, however, be giving my support to the Greens ticket, led in New South Wales by John Kaye. While I do not support all of the Greens policies, I do believe that my philosophies coincide more these days with the Greens than with the mainstream of the ALP. There is little doubt in my mind that the presence of third parties in the Senate such as the Greens and the now-imploded Australian Democrats has been successful in modifying or even blocking some dangerous legislation during the Howard years.
My second preferences in the Senate will be directed towards the Labor Party.
My next post in this series will contain links to blogs and media websites covering the Australian election campaign.