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Howard's end?

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Senator Christine Milne

Howard's end?

Senator Milne, 9th July 2006

Australia's reputation can only be enhanced by the retirement of Prime Minister John Howard, the Australian Greens said today.

"Prime Minister Howard has not kept promises on a whole range of matters, from protecting Tasmania's old growth forests, the GST to Australian working conditions and industrial relations, so why would we expect that he would keep his word on a deal with Peter Costello made 12 years ago?" Greens Senator Christine Milne said in Hobart.

"However, if he did put his own interests first, as per usual, and retire soon, the Prime Minister's action would coincide for once with the best interests of the nation. Australia's reputation as a good global citizen is increasingly besmirched under his leadership.

"Following US President George Bush in turning his back on international law from the Kyoto Protocol, to the Refugee Convention to the war in Iraq, the Geneva Conventions and the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Prime Minister Howard continues to thumb his nose at the global community to the detriment of Australia.

"Whether Peter Costello would have a higher regard for international law or for the rights of Australian citizens, whether in Guantanamo Bay or in Australian workplaces, than the Prime Minister remains to be seen.

Certainly he does not seem to have heard of climate change or energy security.

"The war in Iraq continues to go badly and the community is increasingly horrified by revelations of the wheeling and dealing over the government's involvement in the sanctions busting sale of wheat to Iraq and the extent to which wheat sales influenced the decision to go to war.

"Prime Minister Howard has lost his authority in the party room and has struggled in recent months to hold the coalition together, with internal struggles surfacing over his policy positions on refugees, same sex civil unions, alternative fuels and nuclear energy to name a few.

"He is even facing threats from backbench senators like Senator Ross Lightfoot that if not preselected he would leave the party and sit as an independent, jeopardising the Coalition's slender majority in the Senate.

"On top of this, there is now the prospect of the Prime Minister's electorate of Bennelong becoming more marginal under a proposed redrawing of boundaries."

Contact: Katrina Willis 0437 587 562