Crunch Time Down Under

The Prime Minister sticks to his budget cuts, despite riots

Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, swept into office last March as a Down Under Newt Gingrich. The Liberal Party leader, a fan of U.S. Republicans, vowed to cut the country's huge budget deficit, overhaul the welfare system, move power away from the federal government, and cut taxes. Now, the backlash has started. On Aug. 20, Howard presented a budget that slashed 5.5% from government spending. That touched off the worst violence in decades in Canberra, where tens of thousands of students, workers, and indigenous people rioted, smashing windows and hurling urine at police.

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