If Howard is a hero, then who is not?

JOHN Howard is making a big noise to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his being voted in as prime minister.

This man is one of the worst leaders Australia has had, using all the country’s resources during his time in power to buy votes by bribing the population. If he is a hero, then who is not?

Nearly half a trillion dollars came into the government’s kitty during the 11 years that Howard was in power.

Apart from using about $100 billion to pay off government debt, Howard did nothing.

He gave women money as an incentive to have babies, the so-called baby bonus. This was not needed, as Howard, despite his public stance as an anti-immigrant politician, also brought in a large number of migrants during his time in power to keep the business and housing lobbies happy.

He gave people money to build houses, something called the first home buyer’s grant. When his poll ratings dipped before a by-election in Aston in 2001, he quickly doubled the grant from $7000 to $14,000. His party won that election.

This grant has created a huge housing bubble and, when it bursts, a lot of people are going to get hurt. But Howard couldn’t careless; the only thing he was interested in was getting re-elected.

Howard also gave people who took private medical insurance a 30 per cent rebate. Instead of putting money into the public system — and Australia’s is one of the better systems in the world — so that everyone would benefit, Howard went the typical right-wing way – the rich get more than the less-fortunate.

A broadband system, trains to airports in every major city, and improving public transport were some things which could have been done during Howard’s 11 years.

But he ignored these needs of the country. He did not dare to broach the idea of fast broadband because he was scared to offend Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer; the former owns a major share of the pay-TV service, Foxtel and the latter owned Channel Nine at the time.

Fast broadband would have meant that TV and other media streaming services would shift to the Internet. Murdoch owns nearly three-quarters of the newspapers in the country and Howard did not want to annoy him in any way.

Result? Australia today has pathetic Internet services that get in the way of business, education, scientific work and so on.

The mainstream media will not raise these issues. They stick with the bullshit dished out by Howard, a man who had the mindset of the 50s and little interest in anything beyond staying in power.

When Australians begin to look at people like Howard with a little more scepticism and out them for what they are, the country will improve. Until then, Howard and his ilk will be able to sell their snake-oil and get away with it.