John Howard, Non-Core to the Core

Despite promising not to provide a running public commentary on the political landscape in Australia, today former Prime Minister and former Member for Bennelong, John Howard has kicked off the new year by warning Australians that the country faces “a prolonged economic slowdown and that the Rudd Government runs the risk of years of budget deficits.”

Drawing on his unremarkable experience as federal treasurer for five years in the Fraser government, he told The Australian: “The story of deficits and surpluses is that you go into deficit like going down in a lift and you get out of it by climbing up the stairs.”

I guess that sort of observation has never struck anyone before.

Despite the fact that the RBA has indicated that going into to deficit in the current local and global economic environment would be a fiscally prudent course of action, Mr Howard maintains a stoic stance.

Mr Howard would not comment on whether a budget deficit was appropriate in the present circumstances of depressed demand and falling inflation.

According to Mr Howard “When you are in deficit, it always takes much longer to get back to surplus unless you have conditions of strong economic growth. We are not going to have conditions of economic growth for quite some time. Therefore the experience of the 70s and 80s tells you that if we go into deficit, it will take quite a long time to climb out of it.”

Well he should know.

Mr Howard said he remembered the 1978 budget as “extraordinarily difficult.”

“I certainly knew I was alive when I brought it down. This mob in office now – they may say they have this terrible international crisis but so far everything they have done has been very popular in the short term” said Mr Howard.

“Popular?” 

According to the overwhelming consensus of economists locally and internationally “this mob” (I presume he means the current Labor Government) has been universally praised for its handling of the global financial crisis and its decisive action taken to avoid as a far as possible a recession in Australia.

“I certainly knew I was alive when I brought it down”    

Such prophetic words……

 

Reb.

 

 

 

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38 Responses

  1. Back down your hole, rodent.

  2. Who’s this clown anyway?

  3. Trying to rewrite history and justify his failure as treasurer in 1976. The released classified cabinet documents show that at a time of economic hardship Howard attempted to severely cut welfare payments, drastically cut Defence, slashed infrastructure spending, attacked the States for their infrastructure spending (a mixture of Liberal, Labor, CLP and National) and wanted to completely overhaul the IR system slashing workers conditions and pay whilst also revamping the tax system so the wealthy got a lot more.

    All sound familiar?

    But most damning was the fact the Fraser government recognised Indonesia’s right to invade Timor not because of any legal or historic justification but because the big resource companies of the time wanted Indonesia ruling East Timor so they could get access to the gas and oil. How come so many reprehensible world acts by Western governments always come back to oil?

  4. Tell the old fool to mind his own business. The people of Australia gave this turd clear notice 13 months ago of what they thought of him and his opinions.

    We have a mandate to tell him to eff off.

  5. According to the overwhelming consensus of economists locally and internationally “this mob” (I presume he means the current Labor Government) has been universally praised for its handling of the global financial crisis and its decisive action taken to avoid as a far as possible a recession in Australia.

    It must make the old fart’s guts churn, as all he got from the international community was condemnation.

    I’m sure the old prick must look in the mirror every morning and say “I am so good, so brilliant, so why didn’t anybody like me?”

  6. Miglo,

    more like “why has thou forsaken me?”

    BTW, nice to have you back, and please accept my apologies for the cooincidence of my recent posts being poorly timed with passing of your father.

  7. The electorate loved John for 11 years and they were certainly better times than than the previous 13 under labor. Let’s see if if Mr Rudd can last the distance, I for one, long for the more stable years under John Howard.I have seen the damage done under previous labor regimes. Unfortunately I voted for Gough and Hawke and finally woke up when Keating reigned over the recession we ‘had to have’ and a mortgage of 19% and the never ending turmoil of hs rhetoric and change for change sake mentality obviously fuelled by his failure to be taken seriously by the establishment throughout his whole dismal life.

  8. John WHOward?

  9. 7. Ron Loftus | January 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    What as compared to the utter mess Howard as treasurer left Hawke?

    Plus I would love to know just exactly what Howard did to cause all this stability you talk about, especially since he was handed an improving economy “That was better by half than I thought possible.” Howard’s own words in 1996?

    And lastly I would like to know exactly what Howard would be doing now if he had won the election, for everything he stated he would do and the current opposition have said they would do in continuing Howard’s policies have been almost universally condemned?

    Remember we are in a worse position now because of Howard’s bereft 11 years of almost do absolutely nothing government except rack up massive surpluses by not spending on infrastructure (a thing it appears he has always neglected), skills, education, R&D (have you read the recent damning report on this?, environment) and just about most other essential services whilst he raked in record revenue from a global resources boom.

    Howard definitely won’t (and currently isn’t) be remembered for being a great leader who bought us prosperity and stability, but will be rightly remembered as a leader who foolishly for pure political gain squandered a once in a generation golden opportunity that fell into his lap and then a mess he left for another government to clean up and address.

  10. I think Howard reveals quite a lot about himself by using the term “this mob”.

    You can almost feel the bitter pent-up hatred and contempt.

    It’s most unlike Howard, who when in power, was always very careful with his words.

    In saying that though, his verbal admission of contempt for the Government (and by inference the majority of Australian voters who overwhelmingly chose Rudd over Howard at the last election), does make his current bitter and twisted mentality and nonsensical verbal outbursts all the more satisfying.

  11. Yeah reb, Howard no longer has his publicly funded firewall of PR advisers and media minders so more of the real Howard is revealed each time he ventures into the fora. Those public opinion manipulators now belong to Rudd, who also appears to be fully utilising them to build up a manufactured persona, or in has case a non-persona (very smart that).

    I know that Howard had roughly three times more advisers (read PR and media manipulators) than Keating, but I haven’t been able to ascertain how many Rudd has. I assume the same number as Howard.

  12. Reb, the outbursts will continue until the day he’s carried off in a box. The bitter old fool just can’t help himself.

    And it’s nice to be back, too. Although it will only be for a couple more days as I’ll then be heading off on a slow return to Canberra soon.

    No problems, either, by the way.

    How’s the painting going? Done the kitchen yet?

  13. Hmmm, “the painting”.

    Don’t talk to me about “the painting”

    Let’s just say that the entire matter has been “deferred” to a later date which is “yet to be determined.”

    In other words, I’ve lost interest and/or can’t be effed.

    Right now, we’re counting down to our holiday! 3 weeks to go and we’re off to Penang (Malaysia) and Hanoi and Hoi An in Vietnam. Can’t wait.

    We’ll be in Penang for Chinese New Year, which should be spectacular.

  14. I’m never gonna get over my urge to do him physical harm if he keeps skulking around at the fringes of reason; as he has shown himself to do for the majority of 2008.
    His gnarled old claws clutching at his trophy from the American Enterprise Institute like a bitter Golem.

    I still loathe the arrogant scum, even if Ron of Gosford/Kiama pines for better days…cough.

  15. “I know that Howard had roughly three times more advisers (read PR and media manipulators) than Keating, but I haven’t been able to ascertain how many Rudd has. I assume the same number as Howard.”{

    Not sure of the detail but Rudd did promise to cut ministerial staff by 30%. And he delivered.

    “Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has slashed federal ministerial staff by 30 per cent, saving taxpayers more than $5 million a month.

    http://article.wn.com/view/2008/12/23/Kevin_Rudd_slashes_staff_bill_for_MPs/

    ” are cutting back the ministerial staff to the level it was when we left office”

    Rudd has public sector management expertise. He realises how it important it is to get professional advice and not rely only on political advice which was a feature of the Howard administration.

  16. And I highly dispute that the Australian electorate loved Howard for 11 years. Firstly they only favoured him on one day every three years and even then wanted to be rid of of him on three occasions, but the use of fear got him through each time, once as a minority government.

    First heading for certain defeat, fear of an invasion by boat people, then a fear of terrorism destroying us and finally the most laughable and the one to eventually bring him undone, fear of higher interest rates under any government other than his. That final fear, along with an unstable opposition leader, gave Howard absolute parliamentary power, which he immediately went onto abuse after promising he wouldn’t.

    So to say that the electorate loved Howard is a very long stretch. It’s more that they were scared into keeping the status quo because of publicly funded government scare campaigns than any really liking for Howard as a leader or person.

    ——————-
    Another good laugh is the media statement by Fred Chaney, a former Fraser Minister, in saying that the current treasurer could learn from what Howard did as treasurer in attempting to reign in a ballooning deficit in the Fraser years.

    Yeah only if Wayne Swan looks at what Howard did as a lesson in what not to do. Howard did everything wrong and was in large part responsible for the mess left to Hawke. It was Bob Hawke, a hard core unionist, who made the reforms and did the right things, a job made much harder by the mess left to him. Sound familiar, a mess left because of misspending, Howard strikes twice in the same place.

    And a hint of the Liberal party’s tactics was also revealed by Chaney, as he hinted at raising taxes like Howard did under Fraser as a solution to the budget problems due to the financial crisis (those tax hikes under Fraser were to make things worse). Yeah I can see Turnbull and his vulture pack licking their bills at the thought of a Labor government raising taxes, even if it is them surreptitiously suggesting they do it.

  17. Thanks for that N5, now I remember his promise on that Howard waste.

  18. Reb

    If the journalist is correct Howard said he would not be giving a running commentary. Some comments every couple of months is not a running commentary. Some journalist obviously rang him up and asked him about the just published 30 year old cabinet papers. i have heard more commentary from paul keating than from howard. he is allowed to make the odd comment

    “I’m never gonna get over my urge to do him physical harm
    4. Toiletboss | January 1, 2009 at 6:37 pm”

    Ah yes- another violent leftie- is there any other

    “In saying that though, his verbal admission of contempt for the Government”
    10. reb | January 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Well what a surprise. Mr Howard does not like the labor party. Well guess what, neither do I. It is a deceitful and immoral political party elected by deceitful and immoral people. That is

    YOU LOT- the most deceitful people of all.

    i remember Mark Latham saying he teaches his children to hate conservatives.

    Do you people agree with this??? Most people from the left of politics are full of hate for the Libs. But I guess you say this is O.K.

  19. Hehe, you are a riot Neil.

    I would be one of the least violent people you have ever interacted with.

    The “urge” to dong your spiritual leader is, although strong, just an urge…kind of the same as if somebody kicked my car. I could really do without the beating from ASIO & 5 years in the slammer that may follow if I make my contempt into physical retribution.
    He is begging for it though Neil, you’ve got to admit that, right? If not, then you should add your own caption to the graceful picture of him on the other thread.

    “i remember Mark Latham saying he teaches his children to hate conservatives.”

    Hate is a bit too strong of a word, but I see no problem with them being “highly suspicious” of conservatives. LOL.

    Nice bit of dragging the waters.

  20. When did Mark Latham say this Neil?

    And I find it strange that you constantly accuse the Labor party of being deceitful (and now strangely those who vote for them) when the previous government had a recorded history of deceits and lies, more so than any previous government. And worse Howard has a history of deceit going back before he entered politics and was such a deceitful person that the Liberal power broker who got him the leadership said Howard was the most deceitful man he had ever worked with.

    Also Keating never ever said he would not comment on current affairs or politics, in fact the opposite, he made it clear he would never stay in the background if he could help it. Keating’s ego and arrogance wouldn’t let him stay in the background but at least he didn’t pretend he was not egotistical.

    On the other hand Howard did say he would not make commentary on current politics, but just like all his promises it was yet another deceit and his distorted ego won’t allow him to keep that promise.

    Yet you accuse Labor of being deceitful, what a joke.

  21. “I find it strange that you constantly accuse the Labor party of being deceitful (and now strangely those who vote for them) “Adrian

    No, it’s definitely not the first time that Neil has plainly stated his belief that “everyone” here is a gigantic fraud. I bet he will even gladly reiterate it.

  22. Is it fraudulent to say that I am one of the gigantic frauds?

  23. “When did Mark Latham say this Neil?
    20. Adrian of Nowra | January 1, 2009 at 7:59 pm”

    Well I just did a quick Google search using, “Mark latham hate conservatives” and lots of stuff came up. At this link according to the reporter (Devine) he says such things

    “I’m a hater,” he told The Bulletin in 2002. “Part of the tribalness of politics is to really dislike the other side with intensity. And the more I see of them the more I hate them. I hate their negativity. I hate their narrowness.”

    “Everyone’s got hate in their lives … it’s just part of life. I hope my little boy hates a Liberal prime minister who sells out our national interests. I grew up in a family that used to hate Bob Menzies.”

    Furthermore Howard did not say he would make no comments. If we can believe the reporter, he said he would not make a running commentary. Furthermore I think his comments shows he cares about Australia. He is concerned that Labor will get us into debt again. You can rack up lots of debt in a few years but it can take a generation to pay it back.

  24. But Neil, where is the quote that he teaches his children to hate conservatives?

    Surely it wasn’t you being (slightly) deceiptful?

  25. That is not what you said Neil, your statement was;

    i remember Mark Latham saying he teaches his children to hate conservatives.

    Do yo remember it or don’t you and if you do just when did he say he would teach children to hate conservatives?

    Back on the old debt thing again I see. So I gather you would follow Howard’s way and not spend on anything. Just allow our infrastructure to crumble, unemployment to sky rocket, R&D to continue its spiral backwards, science to leave the country in droves, import skills instead of investing in them domestically, health to continue on the path to 3rd world standards, education extend its decline and to continuously increase taxes (except for the wealthy of course)?

    And with the end of the resources boom, which was the only thing that allowed Howard to sustain his surpluses in light of his wasteful and profligate spending (even according to Costello) just how would he have maintained them in the current financial situation for all he has said in criticising Rudd is that he would have spent more. That would have been a neat trick, decreasing government revenue but increase spending whilst keeping a surplus. In fact that is exactly what the NSW opposition promised the other day in their latest party revamp.

    O’Farrell has now promised he will cut taxes, increase spending and bring in a surplus. Methinks if he keeps that nonsense up he like Debnam will lose the next election and we will be stuck with another four years of an incompetent government.

  26. “But Neil, where is the quote that he teaches his children to hate conservatives?
    24. joni | January 1, 2009 at 8:34 pm”

    I have heard this said lots of times. As i have said before i do not really trust the media so it is possible what he said was taken out of context. i did find this

    “Everyone’s got hate in their lives … it’s just part of life. I hope my little boy hates a Liberal prime minister who sells out our national interests. I grew up in a family that used to hate Bob Menzies”

    Why didn’t he say Australian Prime Minister rather than Liberal PM???? And furthermore why teach young kids to hate???

    “On the other hand Howard did say he would not make commentary on current politics, 20. Adrian of Nowra | January 1, 2009 at 7:59 pm”

    Not true- if we can believe the reporter Howard said this

    “He said he would be a very quiet ex-prime minister and would not be making a running commentary.”

    The cabinet papers from 30 years ago were just released. Looks like some reporter asked some questions. I would not call this running commentary. Furthermore i think the only reason Reb keeps mentioning Howard is that like Tim Dunlop, Reb gets sexual thrills about mentioning Howard.

    Not too much talk about Showpony and labor. The great achievements of the ALP so far are Fuelwatch, Grocerychoice, Bankswitch and blowing the budget surplus.

  27. Being as deceitful as you claim Labor is I see Neil. Having been caught out in a deceit you now attempt to sidetrack. Deceit is so ingrained in much of the right it has become their normal recourse.

    So we can now take it Latham never said he would teach children to hate conservatives, that’s just something you made up in an attempt to denigrate Labor.

    As to Howard, he has a long history of deceit, yet you seem perfectly willing to ignore that whilst accusing Labor of deceits they never raised. Howard stated he would not conduct a running commentary but that is just what he is doing. Or do yo not consider regularly popping up to make commentary on the current government “running commentary”?

    In his most recent effort it appears as though Howard himself put the media onto the release of these cabinet papers; Prepare for more pain ahead – John Howard

    I note in that article Howard has his cracked crystal ball out again, I honestly thought he would have learnt by now but apparently not.

    As to your lame attempts at sidetracking it is obvious you are not up to date on what the government is doing. Fuel watch is working as prices have plummeted, Grocery watch is in the process of being revamped and will be run by Choice and Bank switch I’m not up to date with yet but I gather you think the huge fees to switch banks are perfectly OK, Howard certainly did?

    And finally yet again you go on about the surplus but have not answered a single question from my last post.

    Are you saying Howard would not have allowed us to go into deficit at this time and all the consequences doing that would have entailed?

  28. Adrian- i think you have lost it. So fuelwatch is responsible for the decrease in petrol prices. I do not believe it. Fuelwatch and Grocerychoice were to fool people into believing that the govt was doing something about the cost of living. Both schemes were a waste of taxpayers money. My understanding is that National Fuelwatch is dead and grocerychoice was given to Choice. Who knows what they will do with it.

    Also howard is not making a running commentary. He gets invited to various events some of which are private and he presents an opinion which is reported by the media. He did not say he would be silent. A running commentary would be comments every week. If he gets invited to speak at a liberal party function are you saying he should not talk about the economy?? I think it is appropriate that he makes a comment about the 30 year old cabinet documents and their possible relevance to todays problems

    I find your obsession with howard strange. The only reason we know that Howard said he would not be making a running commentary is because Tim Dunlop did a blog on it. You people analyse every single word that howard says. He is not in power any more. How about analysing Showpony and see if he keeps his promises.

  29. So Neil, are you now admitting that you did not “remember Mark Latham saying he teaches his children to hate conservatives”.

    Methinks you have been caught out exagerating (again).

    And I love how you also know that reb gets sexual thrills from bringing up Howard.

    Or could that be another exageration?

    And we do criticise Rudd and Labor on here – or have you just decided to ignore those threads?

  30. Neil @18

    “Some journalist obviously rang him up and asked him about the just published 30 year old cabinet papers.”

    “Obviously.”

    Or maybe it was a “mob” of journalists, but the caller from The Australian was the one that you allowed to be put through to his holliness.

    🙂

  31. Neil would never “criticise” the rodent, and often challenges those who do. But he insists Blogocrats “criticise” Rudd, ignoring the fact that this already happens. And a “sexual thrill” out of Howard! – in the unlikely event that happens it’s more likely to come from the adoring Howardhuggers who won’t hear a word against him, wouldn’t you think?

  32. Neil @ 26

    “Furthermore i think the only reason Reb keeps mentioning Howard is that like Tim Dunlop, Reb gets sexual thrills about mentioning Howard.”

    Actually it’s Janette that really does it for me. I’ve been dreaming of a threesome with John. But y’know, he’s never been one for making commitments.

    I did broach the idea with him at a cocktail party the other night. You can see his reponse over at the “caption competition”.

  33. No Neil I am under no allusion that Petrol Watch in anyway lowered fuel prices. I posted that to highlight the absolute allusion the Howard supporters were constantly in by stating things like Howard was responsible for the good economic conditions he presided over. Howard was as much responsible for that as Rudd was for lowering petrol prices.

    I also wanted to point out the utter crud of some of the wingnuts who said petrol prices and interest rates would sky rocket under a Labor government.

    Lookup just what Choice have planned for Grocery Watch, it really is very good and is something I will definitely use once it comes online.

  34. Don’t you just get sick of the sight of him?

  35. 34.

    That’s twice in one week so I guess Neil that means he is now making a “running” commentary.

  36. My god he just can’t help bending the truth can he.

    Being interviewed at the cricket he was asked what he did with his day. He mumbled a bunch of meaningless guff, fair enough, but then without being asked he finished by saying;

    “…carefully watching the current political situation of course but NOT commenting on it, I leave that for others.”

    If he’s not commenting on it how come Tim and now Reb can regularly raise topics on him making a running commentary on current politics?

  37. Hello Adrian. Classic Howard..’carefully watching’ subtext, be alert and yes maybe you also be alarmed. Therefore anyone can read into it what ever they want..Gaza, Obama, Rudd…

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