Some first impressions on the 1996-8 first term of The Howard Years:
- Peter Reith says he didn't know Dubai was a port. But he had the support of the children which meant Janette's favour.
- Graeme Morris, JWH's Chief of Staff in the early years is a real charmer. His machiavellian behaviour eventually resulted in his forced resignation. He would have enjoyed shooting parties with Dick Cheney.
- Speaking of guns: his response to the Port Arthur massacre was Howard at his authoritarian best and worst. Set the tone for the rest of his regime. Johnny decides, they follow.
- Peter Costello's portrayal of himself as gallant hero when drawing up the 1996 budget cuts and the tax reforms which gave us the GST. The El Cid of the Liberal Party.
- The weakness of the Cabinet. Even in their lack of support for Reith and Corrigan during the waterfront dispute. The PM is still not amused.
- The Pauline Hanson factor: JWH's refusal to take her head on. He even had words with Alexander Downer.
- The impotence of the National party when dealing with Howard, especially Tim Fischer and John Anderson. Their role was to soften up the bush over anything controversial.
- Howard's near hysteria at the Reconciliation Conference when the audience turned their backs on him.
- How the GST almost got rid of his government.