John Winston has been booted out in the most emphatic fashion. I would say that by staying on to contest the election, he has poured sugar in the petrol tank of his party. Not that I care too much really, watching conservative parties self-destruct is fine entertainment, EXCEPT that a weak opposition lets the government get smug and stop listening, which is not good for anyone.
Howard has been a safe pair of hands with the economy, but at the same time made Australia a less tolerant, more nervous place. He has used fear to manipulate his people. Not knock-on-the-door-at-midnight fear, just a subtle Australian suburban fear of people who are different, of interest rate rises, of job security, of maintaining property values. I hope it is time for this to turn around and for Australia to confidently open its heart to the world again, without carping, hectoring or threatening the people who look to us for protection and refuge.