The John Winston Howard memorial walk


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I’ve been going on lots of long walks this week (after being supremely lazy for quite a while), and today I did what I like to call the “John Winston Howard memorial stroll” all around Kirribilli, past the gates to Kirribilli House and Admirality House, down around the bottom of the bridge, then heading back towards where I live.

It got me wondering if the council might rename it in his honour when it next does improvements on the foreshore walk. It was such an iconic part of his leadership, the morning walk around Kirribilli… just like overuse of the phrase “battlers”, the complete disregard for the merits of a strongly supported public education system, unflinching support for ill thought out military campaigns and blatant lies (i.e. Tampa).

Then all the battlers, who will apparently still be mourning the demise of Howard and his economic rationalism when the budget comes out this week, can come in their green and gold tracksuits and do a loop around the Johnny Howard track to make themselves feel better… and fight obesity. They can cast their minds back to a better time, when interest rates weren’t rising, good ol’ Pete was handing out tax cuts willy-nilly and their local school didn’t have a roof.

The path should have as many options for directions as Workchoices (so just one, our way or the highway) and as much openness as Howard’s immigration policy (barbed wire fences to stop undesirables walking on it).

It should be a pretty curvy path and should bend back on itself several times… they could also have some exercise equipment next to the path… bars for backflipping, a podium for spin doctoring, etc.

And obviously, it would be user pays.

At the end of the path, when you are leaving the John Howard memorial walkway, there could be two signposts. On your left, one that says “optimism” and on the right one that says “economic ruin”. You choose which way to look as you head forward…

Rudd’s not in da hood very often (if only he was… I’d be popping in for tea and scones and a chin-wag with Therese if that was the case) so I’m sure it wouldn’t offend him to rename it. And really, since Howard was PM for so long, there will be some sort of memorial/sculpture/something that springs up eventually to honour his service to the nation… so it may as well be a foreshore path rather than a naff piece of contemporary sculpture, or a spot for him on the Australian cricket team or in the Big Brother house or something.

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