I know what the headline says, but bear with me. Some background: with a federal election looming Down Under, and the once upon a time way too cunning Aussie PM John Winston Howard lagging so far behind in the polls they're now holding a lantern out for him, the man who would be king is Labor leader Kevin Rudd: a bookish, nerdy-looking bloke who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Tin-Tin character from the famous French comic strip of the same name (indeed, so close is it, political cartoonist Bill Leak of The Australian newspaper never draws Rudd as anything but).
Howard's Liberal Party (that's a misnomer and would be a gross underestimation of political leanings that are marginally to the right of Genghis Khan if you were to use American liberalism as the yardstick) appears a lost cause after a decade in power.
So with the electorate facing a choice between a rock and a hard place with Rudd and Howard - who despite being hilariously called "The man of steel" by George W.Bush for sending troops to Iraq actually more closely resembles one of those plaster garden gnome characters with protruding teeth and a single facial expression - the poll (now tipped for November 6) was in grave danger of turning into the political equivalent of Mogadon and was widely regarded until this week as something approaching a snore-a-thon.
The concensus among voters — and in compulsory-voting Australia, that means everyone — is that it's time for Howard to go, in no small part the result of his killing off in one fell swoop Australia's generous and popular industrial relations and workplace laws at a time of great economic prosperity, and returning most of the cards to employers with his Orwellian-sounding "WorkChoices" — lampooned in Australia as "no choices".
Australians have also had enough of the general arrogance of the Government and the litany of lies, half-truths (the best and most original of which were Howard's breaking of previous election promises because they were "non-core") and just too-far-to-the-right views in relation to human issues like immigrants and refugees. Howard now faces the prospect of being only the second sitting Australian PM to lose his own seat in an election, and the fact that the seemingly equally boring Rudd, who trades on his Christian, family values, is tipped as the next PM, is probably a mark of how frustrated Aussies are with Howard.