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Tuesday, 27 October 2020

John Howard’s unique economic history

With many arguing that recent Australian governments have been major disappointments, a lot of people are turning to the past with rose-tinted glasses. This nostalgia has naturally turned towards John Howard, but the reality of his economic management of Australia leaves a lot to be desired, by both conservatives and the rest of society.

A lot of people failed to recognise how much money John Howard threw at problems. He was the Prime Minister who enacted a Renewable Energy Target before there was immense pressure for change in the Australian energy sector, and many have cited that John Howard is responsible for a big death in Australian manufacturing.

The failure of the widely unpopular WorkChoices program enacted by Howard is one of the biggest sins to his name. WorkChoices managed to make industrial relations in Australia more complex and damaging than they had ever been before. The legislation ultimately achieved little and hurt the reputation of Howard forever.

Ultimately Howard stood in the middle ground between the left and right-wing camps, failing to satisfy either with his wacky policies. While he is fondly remembered by many for his quick action in legislating against military-style firearms in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre, this can be written off as reactionary policy that any sensible leader would have pursued.

When it comes to assessing John Howard on his vision as a leader, he leaves a lot to be desired no matter what side of politics you are on. He managed to enact policies that satisfied nobody in a world of extremes where you can find at least one nutjob to support you. This makes Howard unique as a mediocre Prime Minister who really just ‘hung around’ and did not affect much in the future of Australia.

Abbey Buckley
Abbey Buckley
Abbey Buckley joined the Bulletin Bite economy team from the Australian Associated Press where she covered a broad range of desks including state business in South Australia and the stock market from Sydney. Before that, she was a news reporter at a local newspaper.

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