October 10, 2004


Australians Re-elect Howard as Prime Minister (RAYMOND BONNER, 10/10/04, NY Times)

Prime Minister John Howard of Australia, who went into the country's election with a good-luck message from President Bush, was decisively re-elected Saturday, according to official returns.

Mr. Howard's Liberals, a center-right party, defeated the center-left Labor Party, led by Mark Latham. Mr. Howard, first elected prime minister in 1996, becomes only the third prime minister in Australia's history to be elected to a fourth term.

Iraq loomed in the background during the campaign, but Australian political analysts cautioned that the voting was not a referendum on the war. The main issue was the economy, and that is booming.

You can bet that if he'd lost the Times would be saying it was a referendum? Mr. Latham seems to have dropped the war as an issue because he realized it wasn't helping him--after the Indonesian bombings it's not too surprising that Aussies don't mind fighting extremist Islam--but then in a move that defies comprehension the Left resurrected the issue that put Mr. Howard over the top last time, his government's harsh treatment of "asylum seekers."

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 10, 2004 3:53 PM

A Headline News anchor reported that "despite widespread opposition to the war in Iraq" Australian re-elected Howard. Exactly how "widespread" could it be?

Posted by: AC at October 10, 2004 6:11 PM

The article was on p. A16 or thereabouts of the National edition. Howard loses its A1 above the Fold.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 10, 2004 10:20 PM

I wouldn't call it harsh, more 'firm'. It's not like they were lined up and shot, they were put in admittedly spartan detention centres (which they subsequently vandalised, rioted in and attacked centre staff), untill their applications for refugee status were assesed. Unsurprisingly, most turned out to be economic migrants, que-jumpers and assorted opportunists.

They were eulogised into something approaching sainthood by our nutcase left, who I think, did a huge amount of damage to the 'refugee's cause, not that they'd care.

Posted by: Amos at October 11, 2004 2:43 AM
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