Thursday, November 22, 2007

John Howard's turn...

At the National Press Club, lunchtime:

* On the fake election leaflet: "There are myriad criticisms that can be made of the Australian Labor part6y, but I do not believe the Labor party has any sympathy for the Bali bombers."

* If a Liberal candidate's husband distributed the leaflet there is no need to sack her. "Because her husband may have done a stupid thing there is no reason that should be visited on her. I would have thought that was a very old-fashioned view of women in Australia.

* "I have dissociated myself from it. I think it's stupid, it's offensive, it's untrue. I mean for heavens sake get a sense of proportion."

* "I do not think that what has happened in Lindsay is evidence of any underlying racism in the Liberal party."

* "We I say we need to keep reforming I am speaking generically. On industrial relations I think we have got the balance right."

* "I don't believe Rudd's talk about a meat axe to the public service. The role of the public sector unions would be too great. If he is elected on Saturday you can be sure that is one promise that he will never carry out.

* I have been in a lot of elections and this is not an angry campaign, and by the way it is not a dirty one either. I don't think people do want to change the fundamental direction, whereas in 1996 a lot of people were cranky with the lopsided political correctness.

* "I think when it comes to the Murray Darling plan we have had the most disgraceful obstruction from the government of Victoria." The Federation has got to make way for the nation when it comes to these issues.

* "I have seen a transition to a new leader work on the other side of the world in a country with a very similar political system to us, from Mr Blair to Mr Brown, and it worked. We are open about this, we are not concealing anything, we don't have any Kirribilli House pact.

That's it - perhaps John Howard's last National Press Club address. Voting in 42 hours.