Saturday, November 24, 2007

John Howard Beaten By Global-Warmer

SYDNEY, Australia — Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd swept to power in Australian elections Saturday, ending an 11-year conservative era and promising major changes to policies on global warming and the Iraq war.

"Today Australia has looked to the future," Rudd, a Chinese-speaking former diplomat, said in a nationally televised victory speech, to wild cheers from hundreds of supporters.

"Today the Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward ... to embrace the future, together to write a new page in our nation's history," he said.

The win brought a humiliating end to the career of outgoing Prime Minister John Howard of the Liberal Party, Australia's second-longest serving leader who, as little as a year ago, had appeared almost unassailable.

Howard faced further potential embarrassment. The voting results in his own district were on a knife edge, and he was in real danger of becoming only the second sitting prime minister in 106 years of federal government to lose his seat in Parliament.

Mark Apthorpe, a 24-year-old information technology worker who lives in Howard's district of Bennelong, voted for Rudd even though he was happy with the way the economy was being managed.

Like many voters, he said it was time for a change.

"Johnnie's said a few things that he has gone back on," Apthorpe said of Howard. "He's been around a long time, and he'll be gone in 18 months anyway."

Howard earlier this year announced plans to retire within about two years if he won the election, sparking claims of arrogance."

Having lived in Australia, I can add that John Howard wouldn't stand a chance at running for senior dog catcher here in the states. Just far too unsophisticated. The man who is running for the highest office in his land and telling people he'll retire before his tenure is up.The same man who when pressed time and again over Aborigine rights said maybe we should just "treat them as mates."

Still and all he had the presence of mind to back good over evil, and not that Australia has much of a say in anything, but it was nice to have a mate down under. In 20 years it'll be called Australasia, anyway, a full blown haven for malcontent freeloaders who will make the problems in France seem decidedly picayune in comparison.

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