Let’s talk: Who did the best job for Australia? 359

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As far as world leaders go, Australia has had its share of characters. But what makes a great leader? What is it we’re looking for?

If polls are anything to go by, it’s not Tony Abbott – our Prime Minister marked his second anniversary in the job with dismal support on all fronts.

But perhaps he could turn things around by taking a look at some of those who have gone before.

Earlier this year, Australians from both sides of the fence mourned the loss of Gough Whitlam, he of the reforms and free education for all.

We also remember Sir Robert Menzies, creator of the Liberal party, who showed us that when you’re down, you’re not necessarily out.

Malcolm Fraser is credited with bringing stability back to the government after the chaos of the Whitlam dismissal, he also embraced multiculturalism by welcoming refugees from the Indochina conflict, and created the SBS.

Bob Hawke could down a yard glass but was teetotal during his four terms in office, Paul Keating was arguably the best financial Labor prime minister, and Julia Gillard smashed the glass ceiling by becoming the first female in the top job.

Tony Abbott’s mentor is John Howard, one of the most popular PMs of modern times under whose reign Australia’s economy thrived (although taxes grew). Perhaps he should listen more closely to what he has to say?

Tell us: who do you think has been Australia’s best Prime Minister and why? 


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Keating Whitlam and Hawke were the best reforming PM’S country has ever had

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  2. Gough

    9 REPLY
  3. NOT Gillard that is 100% for sure, she was and still holds the record for the worst PM ever! Followed very closely by Rudd.
    All of the above have done a rotten job too, from Menzies who gave our printing and issuing of currency to a private bank cabal, who then lent it back to the government with interest, putting us forever in debt.
    Whitlam for taking the teaching of the Constitution out of schools and signing the Lima Declaration and the others for turning a blind eye to this treasonous behavior and turning our country from a sovereign state to a corporation. And now look at us.

    9 REPLY
    • The teaching of the constitution was never in the schools i learned about and read the constitutiin as a young adult during the menzies era.

    • Abbott is the worst I have encountered out of all. Julia was at least educated and promoted education. She could make a decision and string a sentence together without repeating herself several times. He is an embarrassment

    • You talk about Abbott being an embarrassment! Julia fell over while overseas how many times? You want to be petty? Then I can be too!

    • Liberal voters choke on their like for the biggest failure of a prime minister they have ever encountered in their leader Tony Abbott. So hard for them to accept failure lol

    • I never learned the Constitution in school either , your making up as you go, I agree Abbott is the worst PM in my life time and Dianne Martin at least Gillard had the class not to eat raw onions skin and all

    • Yes Michael and she never said ah…um…ah ..the thing is. Quite refreshhing …Robert Menzies spoke extremely well so did Gough Whitlam but there has been a lot of stumblers since then…even Bob zKawke was inclined to um and ah.

    • Diane you are being petty Michael is not being petty he is just stating a very obvious truth.

    • Diane Martin are you speaking literally or figuratively about Julia “falling over” overseas? Please substantiate this comment. She may not have been the greatest orator, but she was certainly much better than Tony Abbott; also she had the welfare of Australians at heart, which TA definitely does not have.

  4. Keating Whitlam and Hawke were the best reforming PM’S country has ever had …. however it was they that broke the economic back of the country with their shonky loan deals (Whitlam) and there irresposinsible spending (Both). Costello/Howard (in that order) gave Australia the best hope it had had in 30 years. To be socially competent one must have the funds to perform their duty to others less fortunate. Tony, I’m afraid is not the saviour of the nation. Bill doesn’t seem to have the intenstinal fortitude to stans up to the unions. Who’s left? Certainly not the Greens or the (so called) independents. Lets’s just bat for who we prefer and hope for the best.

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    • Howard was so hated that he got booted out of his seat as well as losing the election and Abbot is worse

    • Howard run on the back of hawk and Keating he was also part of the blame what’s going on in Europe today if Gough had of got his way by buying all our mineral rights back we would have been the envy of the world but he got kicked out by the drunken yes man Menzies wanted to give WA to the japs and now we have TONY and his champagne sippers who wants to sell out to the Chinese they already own a third of our good farming land I rest my case

    • Howard left $39.9 billion in debt to Labor when he was treasurer for Fraser.
      He sold $72 billion of our assets, if he hadn’t sold every asset we had, he would have left a $39 billion deficit to Labor.
      He ignored infrastructure, gave baby bonus and middle class welfare that is causing trouble to the budgets today.
      Peter Costello will be remembered for selling two-thirds of Australia’s gold reserves for the rock-bottom price of $US306 per ounce (Today, gold is about $US1590 per ounce).

    • Noel they had no choice. The infrastructure badly needing fixing. No good having a surplus when health and education etc are in dire need of funds. Also we had a global financial crisis, but Australia was the envy of the world. Note that despite having a surplus Howard did not get back into power. Say no more!

    • And what did Labor sell off? Anyone remember? A great leader is one who holds up the vision and says ‘who’s coming for the ride’. And the people see the vision and follow.

    • And what vision has Abbott got please enlighten me , all I see is destruction looking going forward Leigh Compton

    • Why don’t you enlighten us Leigh? I think you will find that a fact check is in order then you will see that the Libs sold us down the river.

    • Spot on Christa .This prime minister has delivered nothing but lies and hitting the battlers of this country .He got voted in with no policies still got none .He was a bully in opposition still is .

  5. A true leader will remember it is the people who vote for them, not big business, not the unions, mining, agricultural sector or any other special interest group. They will think first of the welfare of the people. They will think about the long term good of Australia and not their popularity at the next election, they will be a statesman and diplomat. Gough was probably the closest, Menzies may have started well, but was in office too long and the rot set in. Keating was ok and Hawke was a popular larrikin but too much so to be a statesman. Fraser was a statesman but not the greatest PM. Looking about the best PM to come is either not born yet, or not preselected to stand as a candidate. I think there is more talent in the Senate than the House of Reps.

    7 REPLY

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