Episode 1 of 4: Change The Government, Change The Country
This file recorded from public digital television broadcast on 17 Nov 2008 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Video codec: DivX 5 / DX50
Audio codec: MP3
Playing time: 57m 50s
File size: 608Mb
Video bitrate: 1469 kbps
Frame size: 720x400 px
Since regaining the leadership in 1995, Howard has re-created "a convincing consensual language" for the party beyond the narrow economic individualism in which it had become trapped by the 1980s. Particularly interesting is Brett's analysis of Howard's appropriation of core elements of national identity mythology once the preserve of Labor.
Howard's first term of government (1996-1998). Key themes: Port Arthur; Pauline Hanson; Aboriginal reconciliation and native title; waterfront reform and the decision to introduce the GST.
After enduring 13 long years in Opposition, John Howard finally won the top job. With a massive majority, he had near presidential power within his party and intended to use it. The Prime Minister was determined to introduce sweeping reforms and leave his mark on Australian politics.
But within days of claiming victory, the new Government was delivered devastating news - a $9 billion budget deficit. Still reeling from the impact, John Howard was then confronted by another shock as 35 Australians were killed by a lone gunman in Tasmania's Port Arthur. His response to this tragedy won him admiration, but alienated many. Rural Australia turned away from him towards a new champion, Pauline Hanson. The Prime Minister's handling of the Hanson phenomenon caused friction within the Government and the community.
Although the public was losing confidence in John Howard's capacity to govern, he was not deterred. The Prime Minister was resolute he would implement one of his longest held ambitions: reform of the waterfront. The Government's role leading to that explosive night when security guards and dogs took over Australian docks is told in compelling detail by those involved.
For much of this first term, John Howard was under siege as the public turned away from him. His government faced a real possibility of surviving only one term in office. For a Prime Minister who still had much to do, it was a devastating prospect.