Australia's opposition Labor party, headed by former diplomat Kevin Rudd, who has promised to boost relations with China, pull some troops from Iraq, and re-make Australia as a leader in the global effort to stop global warming. The defeat appears so complete that the 68-year-old Mr. Howard, Australia's second-longest-serving prime minister, appeared likely to lose his own parliamentary seat, which he has held for 33 years.The WSJ also referred to the current en vogue development of "progressive" societies of distancing themselves from the United States. In spite of a robust Australian economy with the lowest unemployment in 33 years, voters there have decided that it's time for a new, younger leader as Australia moves toward China and a "greener" future. Mr. Rudd campaigned on tax cuts but it remains to be seen what demands the greens will extort from the new government.
Reuters shed more light on what motivated Australian's voting for change:
The seeds of the election defeat were sewn with his fourth victory in 2004, when Howard won a majority in the upper house Senate, making him the most powerful prime minister in 25 years and allowing him to pass his agenda without amendments.
Emboldened by his new mandate, Howard set about his long-held goal of reforming Australian employment laws, making it easier for employers to sack workers and promoting individual work contracts instead of union-based award conditions.
The changes were unpopular with workers, and prompted widespread protests across the country and a concerted campaign from unions, who said the reforms undermined job security and would drive down wages.
The changes have been a lightning rod for disgruntled voters Australia's biggest cities, with job security falling while house prices and home mortgage interest rates rise.
"Howard has had some successes in managing a prosperous economy," political analyst Nick Economou told Reuters. "But then they made a major error by instilling insecurity in people at a time of prosperity."
It seems that in some ways, Howard brought too much change or the wrong kind of change to Australia. More and more, it seems that people want economic prosperity but are unwilling to accept the risks of life. The Reuters article also pointed out:
Howard's tough stand against asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, who are detained in remote immigration detention camps or sent to centers in Nauru or Papua New Guinea, has attracted widespread criticism from human rights groups.
There it is - the human rights groups. Heaven help you when the "greens" and the human rights groups get you in their sights. So, another one bites the dust. One by one, George Bush's old associates and allies are going down as we move forward in a brave new world.
I have no idea what kind of leader Mr. Rudd will be for Australia, but I do suspect that one of the greatest challenges all leaders will face in the coming years is resisting the "populist" impulses to accede to or champion the ill-considered causes of the left. If we're not careful, much wealth will be squandered on one half-baked scheme after another which in the end, will prove to be nothing more than Soros style attacks on the traditional institutions of the west. Good Luck, Australia.