The Australian Labour Party have won a victory over the (actually fairly conservative by non-U.S. standards) Liberal coalition in the nation's general election, ending an 11 year streak by John Howard.
Despite most American punditry this morning focussing on Labour leader Kevin Rudd's policy on the "War on (Some) Terror" - he intends to pull Australian troops out of Iraq - the election was fought and won almost entirely on domestic issues.
Mr Rudd said all that he had promised over the past year would be his work agenda: an education revolution, boosting the funding of hospitals, tackling climate change, building a first-class broadband network and getting the balance right in the workplace.Only one of those is a foreign policy issue - cliamte change - and since Australia has been suffering from severe droughts, it's far more of a domestic issue even so.
My feeling is that it was simply time for a change in Australia. Democracy needs change as the primary mechanism for checks and balances in government - a democracy in which one party always wins is really just a de facto totalitarian regime by popular vote and is never a good idea, since one party rule (especially with a single leader) always tends towards the extremes of that party's viewpoint over the years. This Labour victory is just part of that cycle.
Which is not to say that John Howard's departure is a thing to pass uncelebrated - as Glenn Greenwald ably points out.