Allied and Addicted
Scribe, $22 pb, 127 pp
Whoever wins the federal election later this year, it is likely that at some stage in 2008 we will be looking back and post-mortemising the Howard government. One strand in the reviews will surely be the Howard government’s impact on the quality of public debate in this country. Whether it has been a contributor to Howard’s long ascendancy (and I think it has), this government’s ability to goad large numbers of academics and commentators into unbalanced and increasingly hysterical denunciations of nearly all aspects of its operations is unprecedented in Australian political history. Among the historical documentation of the Howard years will be reams of bilious critiques of an administration that, it appears, most Australians regard with the sort of benign indifference one shows towards a competent accountant, and that was voted to office in four successive elections.