Let's all laugh at the lying rodent The 33-year parliamentary career of John Howard ended today when he finally conceded defeat in Bennelong and congratulated the woman who beat him, Labor's Maxine McKew. "It was very long campaign and it was a tough campaign and I have no complaints," he told a poll declaration ceremony at Chatswood. "The Labor Party won the seat fairly and squarely. "This is a wonderful exercise in democracy. You can count on the fingers of one hand the countries which have remained democracies for over 100 years. "It is a privilege to be part of that process. And, to see such a seamless transfer of power is a remarkable tribute to the durability of democracy in this country and an example to the rest of the world. "I wish the new Government well and my own party well. "I know that in Opposition it will stay true to the ideals upon which it was founded. "Above all I wish Australia well because, as I have often said, things that unite us as Australians are greater and more enduring than the things that divide us." Mr Howard had held the Bennelong electorate in Sydney since 1974 and he is only the second serving prime minister in Australian history to be dumped at the ballot box. Electoral Commission officials formally declared Ms McKew the winner by 44,685 votes to Mr Howard's 42,251.