Dispatch From Down Under: John Howard is Toast!


Today, it feels great to be Australian. I've woken up in an Australia that has waved bye-byes to John Howard and his Liberal* government, after nearly 12 years of the whining little weasel and his passel of purse-lipped nationalistic sycophants.

Labor's Kevin Rudd, the PM-elect, ran on restoring working Australians' beaten-down bargaining power, taking on climate change and getting Aussie troops out of Iraq. With four-fifths of the vote counted, there was a popular swing from Liberal to Labor of almost eleven points compared to the previous election.

It's not perfect, of course. For years, the Labor party has been moving towards the center, in a Democratic-style triangulation that's progressively abandoned their traditional base while failing to appeal to staunch Liberal voters. So I don't expect a worker's paradise, full of health care and education for all, with lashings of renewable energy and a humanitarian foreign policy.

But it's a start. Labor's gain of 24 seats from the Coalition** gives it a comfortable majority of 86 to 62 in the House. And, to add the icing on the gloating cake, there's a chance that Howard might lose his own seat. And not only lose, but lose in a manner that should cause him conniption fits: his opponent is female, well-educated, and a very well-respected journalist from the Australian Broadcasting Commission which Howard thinks is riddled with 'left-wing media bias'.

There are also a few interesting points about this election that are not immediately obvious.

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