Friday, October 08, 2004

Newspapers back coalition re-election

Australia's major newspapers have overwhelmingly endorsed Prime Minister John Howard's re-election.

But The Sydney Morning Herald broke with a 170 year tradition and took a neutral stance, while The Canberra Times said Labor leader Mark Latham deserved to win.

The Australian said there was a case for change, but the Labor Party's reform program was inadequate.

"There is a case for change alright, but it would need to be based on a reform program that extends, rather than unwinds, the gains of the past two decades," The Australian said.

"Labor has not made such a case, and so The Australian believes the Howard government deserves to be returned tomorrow."

The Australian Financial Review said there had been too much pork-barrelling, but Mr Howard deserved a fourth win.

"When the pork and regrets are stripped away, the coalition would do more to reward effort and enterprise and promote growth than Labor's resort to the retro-fashions of redistribution and ever-larger public services," the AFR said.

"That, and Labor's cynical obstruction of reform in opposition, should be enough to give John Howard his coveted fourth election win."

The Sydney Morning Herald made a historic move to end its tradition of endorsing a party to win government.

"There comes a time when a newspaper, having expressed its voting preference for more than 170 years, must renew and reassess its claim on independence so that its pursuit of truth is not only free of partisanship and without fear or favour but is seen to be so," it said.

"From today, the Herald will no longer endorse a political party."

The Canberra Times also stood out from its counterparts, backing Mr Latham's fresh approach.

"John Howard has plenty of physical vigour left, and not a few political reflexes, but increasingly is not using his ideas to drive the country," the paper said.

"It's time for another driver."

Most editorials said Mr Latham was not ready for office and needed three years in opposition to get runs on the board and establish his economic credentials.

As Melbourne's The Age newspaper described it: "There are two main reasons we believe the return of the Howard government may be the best outcome for Australia in tomorrow's poll. The first is that the coalition has presided over almost a decade of sustained economic growth and increasing prosperity ... The second reason is that, despite the fact Mark Latham has performed well during the campaign, he remains in many ways a work in progress."

Treasurer Peter Costello's succession to the leadership was also widely mentioned as a positive.

Melbourne's Herald Sun said Mr Howard should stay on as Liberal leader as long as he remained fresh and energetic.

"If that were to change, Peter Costello has shown he is also worthy of a chance at the top job," the newspaper said

  • Campaign enters final day
  • One million votes still up for grabs

    AG: Just like in Malaysia... Propaganda and lie was everywhere, but here more in the liberal manner. Happy Voting... to all my fellow Aussie friends.

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