MORE than two decades ago Alexander Downer stood aside as opposition leader for John Howard, paving the way for the 1996 Coalition election win. This week Howard was in Mayo, his former foreign minister’s one-time […]
OKAY, the pundits and columnists (me included) got that US election very wrong indeed. Only a bunch of mugs, we thought, would vote for a racist, misogynist narcissist to become president of America.
So, publicly we wrote him off. But in the back of our brains there remained a frisson of doubt – if he was so totally unelectable, how come Hillary was only leading by five or six points in the polls? What was going on in Middle America that we weren’t hearing about in the “New York Times” and our other favourite reads?
Well, now we know. They believed their government was broken and President Hillary Clinton, the ultimate insider, would just be more of the same. The fact that she was a woman didn’t matter one jot or tittle. Truth is, the glass ceiling is no more. And if you doubt it, cast an eye to Germany and the UK.
Even Paul Keating was upbeat. At last, Australia could develop an independent foreign policy, he said. In fact, Paul told Leigh Sales on the ABC’s “7.30”, he’d heard Trump say he wanted “to get along with China”. Really? We missed that one.
Then the government introduced its draconian Bill to prevent boat people from ever setting foot in Australia, even as tourists 20 years later. Turnbull and his Immigration Minister Peter Dutton sought to wedge Labor on it. But they were too clever by half. You see, they’d done a deal with Obama’s America (and others) to take the refugees from Nauru and Manus, but they didn’t want to announce that without the legislation lest it be used by people smugglers to market their trade. But instead of taking the Opposition into their confidence, they preferred to play childish political games. Sad really.