Tuesday June 27, 2017
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Could Labor be re-writing history just as Howard did in 1998? 

Labor rewriting history?

Could Labor be re-writing history just as Howard did in 1998?

I had only just started school when history began...

When John Howard went to the Federal Election in 1998 with a mandate to introduce GST, only three states out of the six were held by ALP, the rest of the country plus the two territories were held by the Coalition. But after the election in October 1998, the coalition’s grip slowly started to fall apart.

Table One Pre 1998
Now have a look and see how politics were played out after the introduction of the controversial Industrial Relations WorkChoices law prior to the 2007 Election:

Table Two Pre 2007
The coalition lost control of 95% of the country and could now only govern for the remainder 5% of the country federally.

I believe Howard did realise that come November 2007, there was to be a wall-to-wall governments governed by Labor but he was determined not to give up no matter what the polls were saying.

This is the problem with incumbency in Australia, governments get too comfortable with power because Australians do not like to change leaders regularly, although in the period of 2007-2013, Australia experienced a total of 26 government leaders in state, territory and federal.

That is a rate of party leadership change of at least 4 or 5 times a year to reach 26 leaders at the time of writing.

Also during a period of 2007-2013, Australia experienced a total of 30 opposition leaders in state, territory and federal. That is a rate of 5 leadership challenges a year for 6 years. This indicates a frequent and consistent change of held leadership.

Now that is alarming, even for a political student like me, who perhaps lacks the insight of more experienced political analysts. The main reasons cited for these changes of leaderships are polls, internal fighting and public pressure.

When Kevin Rudd was elected in 2007, Labor enjoyed 9 months of wall-to-wall governments and things progressed well until the election of the Barnett minority government in WA in August 2008. This heralded the beginning of the collapse of the Labor honeymoon and this collapse still ongoing at this present time.
Table Three Pre 2013
Just like 1998, Labor only holds government in 3 states and the nation, which means the tables have been turned. 1998 saw the Coalition hold power in the rest of the states, territory and nation. In 2010, I predicted that Labor would win the election but it was to be close or come at a price. That price was Rudd being unceremoniously knifed by Gillard on June 24 and being replaced as the leader of the Labor Party (I can still remember a teacher walking into the classroom writing on the whiteboard that Gillard was now the new Prime Minister, I was practicing to sit my exams in September to gain entry into university).

Furthermore, I predict by the end of 2014, where South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria will go to the polls, all three elections will elect a coalition government, which will leave the ACT the only government in Australia to be governed by Labor.

Déjà vu? Does that sound familiar?

“The Coalition lost control of 95% of the country and could now only govern for the remainder 5% of the country federally” (2004)

Except this time, it will look more like this by December 2014; Labor stands to lose control of 95% of the country and may be in the position to only govern for the remaining 5% of the country – that 5% being the ACT.

In conclusion, Labor has not heeded the warnings of what happened to John Howard after 1998 – incumbency isn’t always a good thing.

But when will both sides of politics ever learn? The answer is doubtful. I leave you with this saying, I started university when history began repeating itself...

Norsefire Burning

Justin is a third year university student at the University of the Sunshine Coast, studying Law as a major and Politics as a minor.

This article was written completely with no indication of supporting a party and only to further understanding the world of politics in Australia in his studies.

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Justin Jackson

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