Well sort of... now that at least one conservative writer is echoing some of what I and others have been saying for quite some time:
The main claim made for the [Howard] government is that it managed the economy well for 11 years, but the notion on which this is based ... is largely false. ...
The main influences on the economy are various national and international trends, plus the hard work and ingenuity of the Australian people.
The Howard government deserves little credit for these. It demonstrated the competence required in the circumstances that arose, and for that we’re grateful, but a Labor government would probably have performed similarly.
Other important influences on the economy are the relevant legal and institutional arrangements, and here the Howard government was the fortunate inheritor of Hawke’s and Paul Keating’s reforms.
Michael Duffy also notes that “the intellectual right did not criticise [Howard] sufficiently.”
Amen!! But Duffy then enumerates only a very sparing list of criticisms — for instance, the Children Overboard affair is an issue conspicuously missing from Mr Duffy’s discussion.
I nevertheless tend to agree with Mr Duffy’s assertion that “the abuse, and even hatred, heaped on the [former] prime minister by the left suggested he was far more extreme than was the case.”
Indeed, Mr Howard was not unremittingly bad. It’s just that when he was good, he was not really that good. And occasionally when he was bad, he was horrid.
(Incidentally, as Mr Duffy seems to be having difficulty with thinking of the Howard Government in past tense, I must refer him to Tim Dunlop’s News Flash.)