Here's an interesting little thought game. What would YOU do if YOU were Australia's PM, with near-total control of the country for 3 years?
[insert fantasy here]
Now compare that with what Howard has done, and then ask yourself why the Australian people want to see the back of him.
I see the coming election as a "correction". Australians were in shock the day after the last election: they were told the election would be close, but woke the next day to find that Howard had control of both the House and the Senate. There was some serious concern about what Howard might do, and it turned out to be fully justified. There was not a word about WorkChoices, for example, in Howard's last campaign.
So is Howard "arrogant"? You're damn right he is. But the public might tolerate that if he was more visionary. Despite all the media talk of what a great leader he has been, Howard has actually been a poor leader who has achieved nothing of substance with all the power he was given. Like Bush, he has been a tool of Big Business. He has no real ideals beyond his own personal ambitions.