‘Relaxed and comfortable: the Liberal Party’s Australia‘, Quarterly Essay, 19, August 2005
Describes how John Howard as Prime Minister (ultimately for 11 years to 2007) kept his government attuned to ‘the moderate middle of national experience’. (p. 74) Howard’s career has been marked by ‘the political skills and quick-footedness which … are part of the Liberals’ political heritage as a successful parliamentary party’. (p. 73) Discusses Howard’s views of multiculturalism and his nationalism and its political implications.
The piece commences with a survey of the history of the Liberal Party and its predecessors. The author also says at the beginning:
To my mind much that has been written about Howard and his governments has been wrong, or at least overheated, particularly the claims about what his election victories show about the Australian people – that they are racist, uncaring, reactionary, and so on. (p. iii)