AUST- POLITICS : THE AUSTRALIAN PACNEWS 1: Wed 09 July 2008
Howard takes swipe at PM Rudd
09 JULY 2008 PERTH (Pacnews) ------ Former Australian prime minister John Howard has taken a swipe at his successor Kevin Rudd, eight months after Mr Rudd led Labor to victory for the first time in more than a decade, reports The Australian.
Mr Howard, who has kept a low profile since losing government and his own seat in last November's federal election, has told a Liberal party dinner in Perth that he did not think Mr Rudd had what it took to lead the country.
“You sometimes get the impression that my successor is more interested in the process of government than the opportunity of leadership that government provides,” Mr Howard said.
Mr Rudd, who is in Japan on his fourth overseas trip since becoming prime minister, had enjoyed record popularity in the opinion polls, but that has dipped recently.
Mr Howard, who was prime minister for 12 years, told the Perth dinner that the swing against Labor at the recent Gippsland by-election in Victoria showed the gloss had worn off the Government.
Mr Howard said that when Labor took over government, Australia's fiscal position was the envy of the world and it was dishonest to pretend otherwise. “The absolutely dishonest and pathetic attempt by Mr (Wayne) Swan and Mr (Lindsay) Tanner and Mr Rudd to ... demonstrate to the Australian people that they had inherited an economic mess from the former coalition, that they had inherited high inflation and runaway spending, they have no shame,” he said.
Mr Howard also bought into the debate on climate change and said it was correct for the coalition to be cautious over the proposed emissions trading scheme. “They (coalition) are right to ask of the present Government that it not adopt policies that by going too far ahead will place this nation's great export industries at a competitive disadvantage around the world.”
Mr Howard said it was hypocritical for Labor to seek bipartisan support on all policy. “When we were in government whenever we proposed something, by definition, the Labor Party was against it. So that's why I say with some passion never yield the national interest to the Labor Party.” ………PNS (ENDS)