(This article has been re printed from a recent column of the Australian Financial Review-Peter Ruehl)
Forget all that fancy-pants stuff about selling off Telstra and making it easier for small businesses to fire the deadbeats. I need a new set of wheels and what would really help would be if I didn't have to pay the protection racket that's built into the price of an imported car.
This has been going on for years just so we can prop up a domestic auto industry that wouldn't exist without the tariffs.
I love cars, always have. And thanks to my affair with British sports cars in the 1960s and '70s, including an Austin Healy Sprite and Triumph Spitfire, I've had the repair bills to prove it.
But I've learned two things in recent years, the first being I don't like paying for repairs and the other is that the one way to prove you don't know much about cars is to own one made here.
The problem is, and this could be totally wrong, John Howard doesn't strike me as being a car guy. John hits me as the kind of guy who, if you handed him a fully loaded Chevrolet Corvette, you know, with a dual overhead cam and MacPherson strut suspension, he'd spend a half hour getting the AM radio to work and then hand the whole thing back to you if it didn't have an automatic transmission.
So I think we can forget about the cars for the time being. Although at least somebody ought to do something about the paint jobs on the domestics. If you live anywhere near the beach, after a few years the car starts looking as though it's been camouflaged for action in the Middle East.
What else have we got? The problem is, Howard was more successful than he expected. It was like winning a raffle for a bottle of Johnny Walker and discovering that Scarlett Johannsen comes with it.
John's been sounding all cautious and stuff, but the time has come to get down and boogie. Tax cuts, Telstra, some slam-dunking on cross media rules - let it all hang out. With that kind of a mandate, the party's just starting; this is no time to worry about how loud it's going to get.
How about industrial relations? Time for a little more control over the unions. With membership down to 17 percent, what are they going to do? Stage a coup at a shopping mall? If they hadn't been such sleazebags in the past, you wouldn't feel so vindictive about them, but now they're about as popular as Country Music Night at the Baghdad Hilton.
Let's at least get them to the point where you can put up a Melbourne high-rise without paying the same price as you'd get for a small Central American republic
General economic reform is screaming for some fun, but we don't know how much room is left for it after Howard's pre-election open bar.
The irony is he probably didn't need to give half as much away as he did, given the margin of his win, but now we're stuck with subsidising everybody in the country who can't afford to get a case of the gout.
If there's one thing that's going to haunt Howard for the next two years, this will be it. Turns out it was like investing in an Abrams tank just to get to the other side of the street.
And Mark Latham? He's got problems, but to be fair, they're not all of his own making. It was like being made captain of the Titanic just before it hit cold weather.
In retrospect, the ALP has had Chernobyl written all over it (nationally) for some time, and Latham had the bad luck to be there when it went off. He didn't help himself with some of the goofier aspects of his campaign, such as the imagined attacks on his family, most of whom are also still trying to figure out what he was talking about.
Several observers have suggested Labor's problem is that it has two competing constituencies - the traditional blue-collar union types and the urban environmental lefties. Talk about your great choices. Even if the two formed a bloc, you still wouldn't have enough people to sell out a Joni Mitchell concert.
The entire electorate has moved towards the centre - or to the right, if you're not happy with the results.
Worrying about the unions and city trendoids will only keep the ALP just where it is
Source: The Australian Financial Review, Peter Ruehl