Tuesday, December 17, 2002

I am in agreement with Tim Blair and Paul Kelly and I disagree with Alan Ramsey on the question of whether Australian Prime Minister John Howard will retire any time soon. I think there is absolutely no way he will go any time soon.

Howard waited nearly 25 years between being elected to parliament becoming Prime Minister. He continued to believe he could eventually get the job despite being written off reapeatedly. Given that level of stubbornness to get the job in the first place, I really cannot see him giving it up if he doesn't have to. It is possible that he might give it up voluntarily if defeat is looming and he doesn't want to go out with an election loss, but defeat isn't looming. Defeat appeared to be looming 18 months ago, but he stuck it out and won. At this point the opposition looks hopeless and Howard looks likely to win another election if he chooses to fight it.

Plus I see two other factors. When Howard was first elected, he announced in interviews that he saw himself as being PM for "about ten years". I can see no reason why he would have changed his mind, and the 10 years will not be up until March 2006. Secondly, if Howard holds the job until December 2004, he will become Australia's second longest serving Prime Minister. The man he will overtake, Bob Hawke, was PM for many of Howard's years in the wilderness, and was the man who beat Howard in the 1987 election. I would think that passing Hawke is something that would be very sweet to Howard. December 2004 will be either after the next election or so close to the next election that Howard will have to fight the next election if he still wants to be PM at that date.

And seriously, how many politicians have you ever seen give up a Prime Ministership willingly? Politicians do not leave office willingly. It is part of their nature.I would personally like to see Peter Costello succeed Howard as PM, but I cannot see this happening any time soon.

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