According to a new Galaxy Poll, John Howard, the man who lost the 2007 election so badly his own seat abandoned him, is overwhelmingly our most popular PM of the past 25 years.
It may have something to do with the fact gun control has been in the news a lot lately and John Howard’s reforms in that area still enjoy incredibly broad support in this country.
Perhaps it’s that Workchoices, the policy that killed him off, has been largely undone and we’ve all forgotten about it. It could be we dumped him before the GFC hit. Or maybe it’s just a reflection of the unpopularity of the current Government.
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Australia is very generous to its prime ministers. They get a car and driver, domestic air travel, and an office with administration costs covered.
They have a huge responsibility for the country’s economy and its security. The country’s biggest headaches find themselves on their desks eventually. And their considerable perks after they’ve served the country cost our more-than-a-trillion dollar economy around a million dollars in 2010-11.
But do premiers who have served their states for more than a few years deserve their perks? Each state is different. Queensland’s new Premier refused Anna Bligh a couple of months of having funding for her office Blackberry and iPad after she being kicked out of office. The South Australian cabinet voted to give former premier Mike Rann a car, driver, office and security detail for six months last year and stirred outrage.
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It must be Christmas for politics right now because the ghosts of prime ministers past are out in force.
Yesterday, Bob Hawke and John Howard tussled over the future of the global economy, China and federalism at the Oxford Business Alumni Forum in their first ever head-to-head debate.
Away from the lectern, last week Hawke backed Anna Bligh over daylight saving in southeastern Queensland and called on Australia to rethink its position on nuclear waste.
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