Thanks for all the responses, folks. I really appreciate that there are others 'out there' who think the way I do. My wife and I had been saying jokingly prior to the election that New Zealand and Canada were looking better every day. But we don't want to run away. We love our country, even if we don't like our government. The fact remains we need to be here to help keep balance. There are too many people willing to 'go along' with whatever is happening so long as their lifestyle is not affected. As Phoenixboi and Champas Socialist rightly point out, we're far too comfortable with our lot and this comfort has bred a level of apathy that I believe is reflected in the way we as a nation are viewed by the rest of the world. I too believe that in order for Australia to move forward properly, it is probably going to be something fairly awful to shake this apathetic malaise.
A friend who did vote said he believed our involvement in America's dirty war in the Middle East is the greatest single mistake any Australian government has made. He believes our involvement will have us targeted by terrorist groups for a long time to come. His believes terrorist cells will form here and internal insurrections are not too far in our future as a nation. I don't necessarily believe this myself, but I understand what he is thinking. A lot of people I know feel the same way without particularly understanding what or why they're feeling this way. And it wouldn't matter what John Howard said, as far as I'm concerned he doesn't have enough going for himself to convince me he is right about anything. Anybody who can't admit they might be wrong about something obviously thinks they have nothing to learn and anybody who thinks they have nothing to learn are only kidding themselves. The day I stop seeking knowledge will be the day after I have died.
Final thought: maybe if we banned rugby league and spent the money used there on educating people about our polical system and what it means to be a responsible citizen, we wouldn't be where we are now. Who knows, because I certainly don't. But at least I'm willing to learn.