Three more years
Well, there’s not much joy in the election results, with the outcome looking a bit worse than the status quo ante. That means another three years of a government that didn’t even deserve a second term, let alone a fourth. Latham ran a pretty good campaign, but couldn’t beat the interest rate scare, and should have bitten the bullet on forest policy much earlier. In addition, the problems of state Labor governments didn’t help.
As for the Liberals, they’ll have an interesting time of it, I think. They’ve made expensive promises, which will be hard to keep and costly to repudiate. And their credibility is now completely tied to low interest rates, something over which they have no real control. As I said in my chapter in The Howard Years
In 1964, Donald Horne described Australia as ‘a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck’. This epigram could be applied, with equal or greater justice, to the Howard government and its term in office, particularly as regards economic policy. Sooner or later, however, this kind of luck will run out.
It hasn’t run out yet, though.