can you imagine a labour leader saying this

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    Labor can win next election: PM
    October 22, 2004 - 10:34AM

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    It was foolish to believe that the Labor Party could not win the next election, Prime Minister John Howard said.

    Mr Howard's comments came after former Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam said the ALP would remain in opposition for another six years because of the scale of its election defeat earlier this month.

    But Mr Howard said he had warned his coalition colleagues not to get carried away with the belief it could take another two elections for Labor to win office.

    "There have been swings of four or five per cent in elections in the past, there was one in 1996 which brought us to power and Whitlam in 1969 got a very big swing," he told Melbourne radio 3AW.

    "So this idea that the Labor Party can't possibly win the next election is a foolish one.

    "If any of my colleagues start getting complacent then it will pretty quickly be knocked out of them."

    Mr Howard said he did not want to comment on the internal turmoil within the Labor Party or the prospect of former ALP leader Simon Crean being dumped from the opposition front bench.

    "I don't take any personal pleasure in seeing any embarrassment for him (Mr Crean)," Mr Howard said.

    "I don't bear him any personal animosity, but that is a matter for the Labor Party.

    "In the end the Labor Party will sort things out."

    © 2004 AAP

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