Here's an excerpt from the tribute to John Howard in the National Post:
A fiscal hawk, Mr. Howard inherited a A$10-billion deficit when he took over government, which he eliminated in less than a year with major cuts to government programs and entitlements. His government gave workers more freedom to choose which union (or no union) would represent them, sold off many state corporations, permitted private innovation in health care and broke the monopoly of the Australian federal wheat board. The result has been an unprecedented decade of economic expansion.
Bravely, Mr. Howard also stood to the end against the UN Kyoto Accord. More than anything, this may have led to his loss last weekend. Australians, particularly young Australians, have been as susceptible as any Western voters to the constant propaganda in favour of Kyoto as a curative to potentially devastating climate change. Signing the accord — something Mr. Howard steadfastly refused to do — will be Mr. Rudd’s first priority. Since there is no evidence Kyoto has done anything to reduce carbon emissions, nor ever could, Mr. Howard was right to oppose it, even in the face of growing popular support for the pact.
Every government eventually wears out its welcome, but few leave behind a nation so changed for the better as Mr. Howard’s has.