Plus ça change

John Howard, 15 September 1985:

I personally see some merit in having an ID card providing the civil liberties concerns that people have voiced can be looked after and provided the Government can satisfy the community that there is some cost benefit in it.

John Howard, 24 September 1987:

If the Prime Minister imagines that he is on a winner in trying to support this identity card legislation, I invite him to listen to every talk-back radio program in Australia today. I invite him to find out the attitude of the Australian people in the cities. They are absolutely delighted that the ID card will be consigned to the wastepaper-basket. That is so because the great majority of the Australian people have not swallowed the nonsense, the fear and innuendo campaign that has been waged by the Prime Minister.

John Howard, 14 June 2005:

We haven’t made a decision to have an ID card in this country, but it should be properly on the table.

John Howard, 15 June 2005:

If you look at it just as a civil liberties issue you would never change anything.

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8 Responses to Plus ça change

  1. Guy says:

    Ha ha. Now who flip-flops?

    Personally I think there is some merit in the whole scheme, although it all depends on the rationale of it and the sorts of information that would be stored.

    In any case, it would be a mammoth political project.

  2. Albatross says:

    This illustrates just why the ALP and others who oppose him cannot find a way to pin him down.

    John Howard has no philosopy or even principles to follow. Just “whatever it takes”.

  3. mike says:

    We dont we have a bill of rights…

    The Hon Mr Justice David Malcolm AC

    Does Australia Need a Bill of Rights?

    Well worth reading.

  4. Mike, Avocadia developed an Australian Bill of Rights;

    It is very complete.

  5. Peter Smith says:

    It was 20 years ago – give us a break! We (unfortunately) live in a different world now. Whose views HAVEN’T changed in 20 years?

  6. Sacha Blumen says:

    It’s ridiculous to think that once a politican has a view on a topic, that they should never change it – especially over 18 years!

    Isn’t it more important to think carefully about the matters at hand, which can change as time goes on, and make the best decision possible based on the available information? If so, then it’s a bad policy to deliberately never change your mind!

  7. Andrew Leigh says:

    Sascha, I have a warm regard for the Emerson view (“consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”) and the Keynes view (“When the facts change, I change my mind – what do you do, sir?”). But I did find it interesting that Howard had shifted position twice on the issue.

  8. Sacha Blumen says:

    Howard’s a master of changing his mind, especially if it’s in tune with how he perceives the wind is blowing.

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