Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Nearly half the public agrees with Latham: Bush 'incompetent and dangerous': "Almost half the Australian public agree with Mark Latham that US President George Bush is "incompetent and dangerous", according to a poll. An ACNielsen AgePoll of 1363 people taken last weekend found that 45 per cent of Australians agree with the blistering attack by the new Opposition Leader on the head of Australia's most important ally, while 52 per cent disagree. Mr Latham made the comment well before he became Opposition Leader.

"The poll found that 51 per cent of Australians believe Labor was right to oppose Australia's involvement in the Iraq war, while 45 per cent say it was wrong. In January, when debate centred on whether the UN would sanction force against Iraq, only 6 per cent of Australians responding to an AgePoll were prepared to send Australian troops to war against Iraq. On April 1, 12 days after the first bombs had dropped, support for the war had grown to 44 per cent. In the latest AgePoll, opponents of the war outnumber supporters in every state except Queensland and in every age group. The startling findings suggest that Mr Bush's decision to invade Iraq despite global opposition has badly damaged his support within Australia, one of his country's closest allies.

"It also indicates that the Iraq war has polarised Australians, and not only on party lines. The poll found 26 per cent of Coalition voters believe Mr Bush is incompetent and dangerous, and 31 per cent think Labor was right to oppose Australian involvement in Iraq. But conversely, 33 per cent of Labor voters disagree with their leader's assessment of the US President - which he refused to back down from last week - while 27 per cent think their party was wrong to oppose sending Australian troops to Iraq."

With figures like these why oh why is Labor so gutless on the issue? The answer has to be that Labor now takes more money from corporations than unions and is committed to the neo-liberal, neo-conservative agenda, which is opposed by the public. Latham's statement was a reasonably accurate assessment of Bush, but since becoming leader 'Mark-licker' Latham has literally had to wrap himself in the Stars and Stripes and has even adopted Howard's approach to handling the public embarrassment: No one told me about this! (viz, the presence of the flag in the caucus room).

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