On October 9, 2004 John Howard will seek re-election for his fourth term as Prime Minister of Australia. Among the critical issues facing voters are Australia’s alliance with the United States, Australian support of the U.S. in the war on terror and Iraq, and the security of Australia in South-East Asia that was highlighted recently by the bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. Voters will also have to weigh whether or not Australia’s free trade agreements with China and the U.S. are proof of the Howard government’s sound economic management.
Howard’s opponent is Mark Latham, a young leader with a distinct political style and outlook. Latham has not placed as much emphasis on the U.S. alliance as Howard and has discussed pulling Australian troops out of Iraq. Latham charges that Howard has made Australia more susceptible to terrorists attack because of his close relationship with the Bush administration. He’s also levied attacks against Howard for poor economic management and the Howard government’s treatment of refugees.
A panel of experts discussed the upcoming election and its implications not only for Australia, but for international relations as well.
Acting Director, The Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
Thomas E. Mann
W. Averell Harriman Senior Fellow in American Governance, The Brookings Institution
Dr. Alison Broinowski
Visiting Fellow, University of New South Wales/Australian National University
Recipient of Professional Award in Australian-United States Alliance Studies, Visiting Fellow, University of Queensland
Phil Coorey, News Ltd., New York Correspondent