John Howard
Overview
 
John Winston Howard AC, SSI
Star of the Solomon Islands
The Star of the Solomon Islands, established in 1981 is the highest honour of the Solomon Islands. Recipients are allowed to use the post nominal "SSI".-Recipients:Notable recipients include:* Helen Clark, ONZ* John Howard, AC...

, (born 26 July 1939) was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies
Robert Menzies
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, , Australian politician, was the 12th and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia....

.

Howard was a member of the House of Representatives
Australian House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia; it is the lower house; the upper house is the Senate. Members of Parliament serve for terms of approximately three years....

 from 1974
Australian federal election, 1974
Federal elections were held in Australia on 18 May 1974. All 127 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 60 seats in the Senate were up for election, due to a double dissolution...

 to 2007, representing the Division of Bennelong
Division of Bennelong
The Division of Bennelong is an Australian electorate in New South Wales. The division was created in 1949 and is named for Bennelong, an Aboriginal man befriended by the first Governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip...

, New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

. He served as Treasurer
Treasurer of Australia
The Treasurer of Australia is the minister in the Government of Australia responsible for government expenditure and revenue raising. He is the head of the Department of the Treasury. The Treasurer plays a key role in the economic policy of the government...

 in the Fraser
Malcolm Fraser
John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

 government
Second Fraser Ministry
The Second Fraser Ministry was the fifty-second Australian Commonwealth ministry, and ran from 22 December 1975 to 20 December 1977.Liberal Party of Australia–National Country Party Coalition-Cabinet:*Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser, MP: Prime Minister...

 of from 1977 to 1983. He was Leader of the Liberal Party and Coalition
Coalition (Australia)
The Coalition in Australian politics refers to a group of centre-right parties that has existed in the form of a coalition agreement since 1922...

 Opposition from 1985 to 1989, which included the 1987 federal election against Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke
Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC GCL was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister....

.
Quotations

The most important civil liberty... is to stay alive and to be free from violence and death...

Terrorism Summit (Friday, August 5, 2005)

I think when people talk about civil liberties, they sometimes forget that action taken to protect the citizen against physical violence and physical attack is a blow in favour and not a blow against civil liberties.

Terrorism Summit (Friday, August 5, 2005)

Truth is absolute, truth is supreme, truth is never disposable in national political life.

ABC Radio "AM" (25 August 1995)

We are not a federation of tribes. We are one great tribe; one Australia.

October 16th, 2007

Journalist: Do you see yourself as having another chance at the leadership at some future time?John Howard: Oh, that'd be Lazarus|Lazarus with a triple bypass.

Press conference, 9th of May 1989, after losing the Liberal Party leadership.

I believed then, and I believe now, that if this country is to live up to its full potential and its highest ideals we must turn this around.

Speech at Australian National History Summit 2008.

I've never believed in lower wages. Never. Never believed in lower wages, I've never believed in lower wages as an economic instrument.

Interview with Four Corners (TV series)|Four Corners, ABC TV, 19 February 1996.

The 'black armband' view of our history reflects a belief that most Australian history since 1788 has been little more than a disgraceful story of imperialism, exploitation, racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. I take a very different view. I believe that the balance sheet of our history is one of heroic achievement and that we have achieved much more as a nation of which we can be proud of than which we should be ashamed.

1996 Sir Robert Menzies Lecture

We decide who comes into this country, and the circumstances in which they come.

Speech used in advertising material by the Liberal Party in the 2001 Federal election.

Encyclopedia
John Winston Howard AC, SSI
Star of the Solomon Islands
The Star of the Solomon Islands, established in 1981 is the highest honour of the Solomon Islands. Recipients are allowed to use the post nominal "SSI".-Recipients:Notable recipients include:* Helen Clark, ONZ* John Howard, AC...

, (born 26 July 1939) was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies
Robert Menzies
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, , Australian politician, was the 12th and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia....

.

Howard was a member of the House of Representatives
Australian House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia; it is the lower house; the upper house is the Senate. Members of Parliament serve for terms of approximately three years....

 from 1974
Australian federal election, 1974
Federal elections were held in Australia on 18 May 1974. All 127 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 60 seats in the Senate were up for election, due to a double dissolution...

 to 2007, representing the Division of Bennelong
Division of Bennelong
The Division of Bennelong is an Australian electorate in New South Wales. The division was created in 1949 and is named for Bennelong, an Aboriginal man befriended by the first Governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip...

, New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

. He served as Treasurer
Treasurer of Australia
The Treasurer of Australia is the minister in the Government of Australia responsible for government expenditure and revenue raising. He is the head of the Department of the Treasury. The Treasurer plays a key role in the economic policy of the government...

 in the Fraser
Malcolm Fraser
John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

 government
Second Fraser Ministry
The Second Fraser Ministry was the fifty-second Australian Commonwealth ministry, and ran from 22 December 1975 to 20 December 1977.Liberal Party of Australia–National Country Party Coalition-Cabinet:*Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser, MP: Prime Minister...

 of from 1977 to 1983. He was Leader of the Liberal Party and Coalition
Coalition (Australia)
The Coalition in Australian politics refers to a group of centre-right parties that has existed in the form of a coalition agreement since 1922...

 Opposition from 1985 to 1989, which included the 1987 federal election against Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke
Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC GCL was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister....

. He was re-elected as Leader of the Opposition in 1995.

Howard led the Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

-National
National Party of Australia
The National Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Traditionally representing graziers, farmers and rural voters generally, it began as the The Country Party, but adopted the name The National Country Party in 1975, changed to The National Party of Australia in 1982. The party is...

 Coalition
Coalition (Australia)
The Coalition in Australian politics refers to a group of centre-right parties that has existed in the form of a coalition agreement since 1922...

 to victory at the 1996 federal election, defeating Paul Keating
Paul Keating
Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

's Labor
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 government
Keating Government
The Hawke-Keating Government refers to the federal Executive Government of Australia of the Australian Labor Party from 1983 to 1996. The government was led initially by Bob Hawke as Prime Minister, who was succeeded by Paul Keating in 1991....

 and ending a record 13 years of Coalition opposition
Opposition (Australia)
Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in Australia fulfils the same function as the official opposition in other Commonwealth of Nations monarchies. It is seen as the alternative government and the existing administration's main opponent at a general election...

. The Howard Government
Howard Government
The Howard Government refers to the federal Executive Government of Australia led by Prime Minister John Howard. It was made up of members of the Liberal–National Coalition, which won a majority of seats in the Australian House of Representatives at four successive elections. The Howard Government...

 was re-elected at the 1998, 2001 and 2004 elections, presiding over a period of strong economic growth and prosperity. Major issues for the Howard Government included taxation, industrial relations, immigration, the Iraq war, and Aboriginal relations. Howard's coalition government was defeated at the 2007 election by the Labor Party led by Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd
Kevin Michael Rudd is an Australian politician who was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010. He has been Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2010...

. Howard also lost his own parliamentary seat
Division of Bennelong
The Division of Bennelong is an Australian electorate in New South Wales. The division was created in 1949 and is named for Bennelong, an Aboriginal man befriended by the first Governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip...

 at the election; he was the second Australian Prime Minister, after Stanley Bruce
Stanley Bruce
Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1st Viscount Bruce of Melbourne, CH, MC, FRS, PC , was an Australian politician and diplomat, and the eighth Prime Minister of Australia. He was the second Australian granted an hereditary peerage of the United Kingdom, but the first whose peerage was formally created...

 in 1929, to do so.

Early life

John Howard is the fourth son of Mona (née Kell) and Lyall Howard
Lyall Howard
Lyall Falconer Howard was a World War I veteran, engineer and business owner, and the father of former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard. He was born and raised near Maclean in the Clarence River region of northern New South Wales...

. His parents were married in 1925. His eldest brother Stanley was born in 1926, followed by Walter in 1929, and Robert (Bob) in 1936. Lyall Howard was an admirer of Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, and a sympathiser with the New Guard
New Guard
The New Guard was a fascist movement in Australia formed in 1931. It was opposed to communism and democracy, called for class collaboration to replace class conflict, and engaged in street fighting against opponents and in plans for a coup d'etat against the Australian government...

.

Howard grew up in the Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 suburb of Earlwood
Earlwood, New South Wales
Earlwood is a suburb in the inner-west of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Earlwood is located 12 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Canterbury...

 in a Methodist family. His mother had been an office worker until her marriage. His father and his paternal grandfather, Walter Howard, were both veterans of the First AIF
First Australian Imperial Force
The First Australian Imperial Force was the main expeditionary force of the Australian Army during World War I. It was formed from 15 August 1914, following Britain's declaration of war on Germany. Generally known at the time as the AIF, it is today referred to as the 1st AIF to distinguish from...

 in World War I. They also ran two Dulwich Hill
Dulwich Hill, New South Wales
Dulwich Hill is a residential suburb in the Inner West of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Dulwich Hill is located 9 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of Marrickville Council...

 petrol stations where John Howard worked as a boy.
Lyall Howard died in 1955 when John was sixteen, leaving his mother to take care of John (or "Jack" as he was also known).

Howard suffered a hearing impairment in his youth, leaving him with a slight speech impediment
Speech disorder
Speech disorders or speech impediments are a type of communication disorders where 'normal' speech is disrupted. This can mean stuttering, lisps, etc. Someone who is unable to speak due to a speech disorder is considered mute.-Classification:...

, and he continues to wear a hearing aid. It also influenced him in subtle ways, limiting his early academic performance; encouraging a reliance on an excellent memory; and in his mind ruling out becoming a barrister
Barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

 as a likely career.

Howard attended the publicly funded state schools Earlwood Primary School and Canterbury Boys' High School
Canterbury Boys' High School
Canterbury Boys' High School is a public, secondary, day school for boys, located in Canterbury, a south-western suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is located near the Canterbury Park Racecourse and next to Canterbury Girl's High School.Established in January 1918 as the Canterbury...

.
Howard won a citizenship prize in his final year at Earlwood (presented by local politician Eric Willis
Eric Willis
Sir Eric Archibald Willis KBE, CMG was an Australian politician, Cabinet Minister and the 34th Premier of New South Wales, serving from 23 January 1976 to 14 May 1976. Born in Murwillumbah in 1922, Willis was educated at Murwillumbah High School and the University of Sydney, where he obtained a...

), and subsequently represented his secondary school at debating as well as cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 and rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

. Cricket remained a life-long hobby. In his final year at school he took part in a radio show hosted by Jack Davey
Jack Davey
John Andrew Davey was a New Zealand-born star of Australian radio in the 1930s, '40s and '50s.-New Zealand:Jack Davey was born John Andrew Davey on 8 February 1907 and educated at King's College, Auckland...

, Give It a Go broadcast on the commercial radio station, 2GB
2GB
2GB is a commercial radio station in Sydney, Australia broadcasting on 873 kHz, AM. It is one of Australia's most popular talk-back radio stations, and is the number one station in Sydney.-History:The station commenced broadcasting in August 1926...

, and a recording of the show survives. After gaining his Leaving Certificate, he studied law at the University of Sydney
University of Sydney
The University of Sydney is a public university located in Sydney, New South Wales. The main campus spreads across the suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington on the southwestern outskirts of the Sydney CBD. Founded in 1850, it is the oldest university in Australia and Oceania...

, graduating in 1961, and subsequently practising as a solicitor for twelve years.

Howard married fellow Liberal Party member Janette Parker
Janette Howard
Janette Howard is the wife of John Howard, who was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia.-Early life:Alison Janette Parker was born in Kingsford, a working-class suburb of Sydney in 1944. Her father was an engineer with the New South Wales railways. The family later moved to Vaucluse...

 in 1971, with whom he had three children: Melanie (1974), Tim (1977) and Richard (1980).

Early political career

Howard joined the Liberal Party
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

 in 1957. He held office in the New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 Liberal Party on the State Executive and served as President of the Young Liberals
Young Liberals (Australia)
The Young Liberal Movement is the youth division of the Liberal Party of Australia, and membership is open to those between 16 and 30 years of age. Members of Young Liberals have full party-membership, and have the choice of which part they join...

 (1962–64), the party youth organisation. Howard supported Australia's involvement
Military history of Australia during the Vietnam War
Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War began as a small commitment of 30 men in 1962, and increased over the following decade to a peak of 7,672 Australians deployed in South Vietnam or in support of Australian forces there. The Vietnam War was the longest and most controversial war Australia...

 in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, although has since said there were "aspects of it that could have been handled and explained differently".

At the 1963 federal election, Howard acted as campaign manager in his local seat of Parkes
Division of Parkes (1901-69)
The Division of Parkes was an Australian Electoral Division in the state of New South Wales. It was located in the south-west of Sydney, and originally included the suburbs of Canterbury, Burwood and Ashfield...

 for the successful candidacy of Tom Hughes who defeated the 20 year Labor incumbent.

In 1967 with the support of party power brokers, John Carrick
John Carrick (Australian politician)
Sir John Leslie Carrick, AC, KCMG is a former Australian politician.-Early life:Carrick studied economics at the University of Sydney . Before he was able to commence his career to any great degree he fought with the Sparrow Force of the Australian Army during World War II. He was landed on...

 and Eric Willis
Eric Willis
Sir Eric Archibald Willis KBE, CMG was an Australian politician, Cabinet Minister and the 34th Premier of New South Wales, serving from 23 January 1976 to 14 May 1976. Born in Murwillumbah in 1922, Willis was educated at Murwillumbah High School and the University of Sydney, where he obtained a...

, he was endorsed as candidate for the marginal suburban state seat of Drummoyne
Electoral district of Drummoyne
Drummoyne is an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of New South Wales. It is represented by John Sidoti of the Liberal Party of Australia.-History:...

, held by ALP
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 member Reg Coady
Reg Coady
Reginald John Francis Coady was an Australian politician and a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1954 until 1973. He was a member of the Australian Labor Party ....

. Howard's mother sold the family home in Earlwood
Earlwood, New South Wales
Earlwood is a suburb in the inner-west of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Earlwood is located 12 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Canterbury...

 and rented a house with him at Five Dock
Five Dock, New South Wales
Five Dock is a suburb in the inner-west of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Five Dock is located 10 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the Local Government Area of the City of Canada Bay.-Location:...

, a suburb within the electorate. At the election in February 1968, in which the incumbent state Liberal government was returned to office, Howard narrowly lost to Coady, despite campaigning vigorously. Howard and his mother subsequently returned to Earlwood, moving to a house on the same street where he grew up.

At the 1974 federal election
Australian federal election, 1974
Federal elections were held in Australia on 18 May 1974. All 127 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 60 seats in the Senate were up for election, due to a double dissolution...

, Howard successfully contested the Sydney suburban seat of Bennelong
Division of Bennelong
The Division of Bennelong is an Australian electorate in New South Wales. The division was created in 1949 and is named for Bennelong, an Aboriginal man befriended by the first Governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip...

 and became a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives
Australian House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia; it is the lower house; the upper house is the Senate. Members of Parliament serve for terms of approximately three years....

 during the Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC , known as Gough Whitlam , served as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to power at the 1972 election and retained government at the 1974 election, before being dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr at the climax of the...

-led Labor Government. Howard backed Malcolm Fraser
Malcolm Fraser
John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

 for the leadership of the Liberal Party against Billy Snedden
Billy Snedden
Sir Billy Mackie Snedden, KCMG, QC was an Australian politician representing the Liberal Party. He was Leader of the Opposition at the 1974 federal election, failing to defeat the Labor incumbent Gough Whitlam.-Early life:...

 following the 1974 election. When Fraser won office in December 1975, Howard was appointed Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs
Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs (Australia)
The Australian Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs administers his portfolio through the Treasury. Responsibility for competition policy and consumer affairs currently rests with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon David Bradbury MP.-List of Ministers for...

, a position in which he served until 1977. At this stage, he followed the protectionist and pro-regulation stance of Fraser and the Liberal Party.

Federal Treasurer (1977–1983)

In December 1977, at the age of 38, Howard was appointed Treasurer
Treasurer of Australia
The Treasurer of Australia is the minister in the Government of Australia responsible for government expenditure and revenue raising. He is the head of the Department of the Treasury. The Treasurer plays a key role in the economic policy of the government...

. During his five years in the position, he became an adherent of free-market economics, which was challenging economic orthodoxies in place for most of the century. He came to favour tax reform including broad-based taxation (later the GST
Goods and Services Tax (Australia)
The GST is a broad sales tax of 10% on most goods and services transactions in Australia. It is a value added tax, not a sales tax, in that it is refunded to all parties in the chain of production other than the final consumer....

), a freer industrial system including the dismantling of the centralised wage-fixing system, the abolition of compulsory trade unionism, privatisation and deregulation.

In 1978, the Fraser government instigated a committee of inquiry, the Campbell Committee, to investigate financial system reforms. The impetus for the commission came, not from Howard, but from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Howard supported the Campbell report, but adopted an incremental approach with Cabinet, as there was wide opposition to deregulation within the government and the treasury. The process of reform began before the committee reported 2½ years later, with the introduction of the tender system for the sale of Treasury notes in 1979, and Treasury bonds in 1982. Ian Macfarlane (Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, 1996–2006) described these reforms as "second only in importance to the float of the Australian dollar in 1983." In 1981 he proposed a broad-based indirect tax with compensatory cuts in personal rates; however, cabinet rejected it citing both inflationary and political reasons. After the free-marketeers or "drys" of the Liberals challenged the protectionist policies of Minister for Industry and Commerce
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations (Australia)
The Australian Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations is currently the Hon Senator Chris Evans.The Minister administers this portfolio, through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations....

 Phillip Lynch
Phillip Lynch
Sir Phillip Reginald Lynch KCMG was an Australian Liberal politician.Lynch held the House of Representatives seat of Flinders from 1966 to 1982. Between 1968 and 1972, he served variously as Minister for the Army, Minister for Immigration, and Minister for Labour and National Service, under Prime...

, they shifted their loyalties to Howard. Following an unsuccessful leadership challenge by Andrew Peacock
Andrew Peacock
Andrew Sharp Peacock AC, GCL , is a former Australian Liberal politician. He was a minister in the Gorton, McMahon and Fraser governments, and was federal leader of the Liberal Party of Australia 1983–1985 and 1989–1990...

 to unseat Fraser as prime minister, Howard was elected deputy leader of the Liberal Party in April 1982. His election depended largely on the support of the "drys", and he became the champion of the growing free-market lobby in the party.

Fraser's negotiations with the ACTU saw him lose control of a wages explosion in 1982 just as the mining boom had ended. The economic crises of the early 1980s brought Howard into conflict with the economically conservative Fraser. As the economy headed towards the worst recession since the 1930s, Keynesian Fraser pushed an expansionary fiscal position much to Howard's and Treasury's horror. With his authority as treasurer being flouted, Howard considered resigning in July 1982, but, after discussions with his wife and senior advisor John Hewson
John Hewson
John Robert Hewson AM is an Australian economist, company director and a former politician. He was federal leader of the Liberal Party of Australia from 1990 to 1994 and led the party to defeat at the 1993 federal election.-Early life:...

 (Liberal Party leader himself from 1990 to 1994), he decided to "tough it out". The 1982 wages explosion—wages rose 16 per cent across the country—resulted in stagflation
Stagflation
In economics, stagflation is a situation in which the inflation rate is high and the economic growth rate slows down and unemployment remains steadily high...

; unemployment touched double-digits and inflation peaked at 12.5% (official interest rates peaked at 21%).

The Fraser Government with Howard as Treasurer lost the 1983 election
Australian federal election, 1983
Federal elections were held in Australia on 5 March 1983. All 125 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 64 seats in the Senate, were up for election, following a double dissolution...

 to the Labor Party led by Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke
Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC GCL was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister....

. Over the course of the 1980s, the Liberal party came to accept the free-market policies that Fraser had resisted and Howard had espoused; namely low protection, decentralisation of wage fixation, financial deregulation, a broadly-based indirect tax, and the rejection of counter-cyclical fiscal policy.

Opposition years (1983–1996)

Following the 1983 defeat of the Fraser government
Australian federal election, 1983
Federal elections were held in Australia on 5 March 1983. All 125 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 64 seats in the Senate, were up for election, following a double dissolution...

 and Fraser
Malcolm Fraser
John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

's subsequent resignation from parliament, Howard contested the Liberal leadership but was defeated by Andrew Peacock
Andrew Peacock
Andrew Sharp Peacock AC, GCL , is a former Australian Liberal politician. He was a minister in the Gorton, McMahon and Fraser governments, and was federal leader of the Liberal Party of Australia 1983–1985 and 1989–1990...

. Remaining Deputy Leader of the parliamentary party, Howard became Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Opposition (Australia)
Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in Australia fulfils the same function as the official opposition in other Commonwealth of Nations monarchies. It is seen as the alternative government and the existing administration's main opponent at a general election...

 and the Liberal Party were defeated by Hawke
Bob Hawke
Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC GCL was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister....

 and Labor at the 1984 election. In 1985, as Labor's position in opinion polls improved, Peacock's popularity sank, and Howard's profile rose, leadership speculation persisted. Peacock said he would no longer accept Howard as deputy unless he offered assurances that he would not challenge for the leadership. Following Howard's refusal to offer such an assurance, Peacock sought, in September 1985, to replace him with John Moore as Deputy Leader. The party room re-elected Howard as Deputy on 5 September (38 votes to 31), and, believing his position untenable, Peacock immediately resigned the leadership. With Peacock not contesting the ensuing Liberal Party leadership ballot, Howard defeated Jim Carlton
Jim Carlton
James Joseph Carlton AO is a former Australian politician.Carlton was born in Sydney and earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney...

 57 votes to 6, and became Leader of the Opposition.

Leader of the opposition and new economic policy
Howard was in effect the Liberal party's first pro-market leader in the conservative coalition and spent the next two years working to revise Liberal policy away from that of Fraser's. In his own words he was an "economic radical" and a social conservative
Social conservatism
Social Conservatism is primarily a political, and usually morally influenced, ideology that focuses on the preservation of what are seen as traditional values. Social conservatism is a form of authoritarianism often associated with the position that the federal government should have a greater role...

. Referring to the pro-market liberalism of the 1980s, Howard, famously said in July 1986 that "The times will suit me". That year the economy was seen to be in crisis with a 40% devaluation of the Australian dollar, a marked increase in the current account deficit and the loss of the Federal Government's triple A rating. In response to the economic circumstances, Howard persistently attacked the Labor government and offered his free-market reform agenda. Despite the economic news, support for the Labor Party and Hawke strengthened in 1985 and 1986. Howard's approval ratings dropped in the face of infighting between Howard and Peacock supporters, a "public manifestation of disunity" over policy positions, and questions over Howard's leadership.

To capitalise on Coalition disunity, Hawke called the 1987 election six months early. In addition to the Howard–Peacock rivalry, Queensland National Party criticism of the federal Liberal and National leadership led to a split in the Coalition whereby Nationals ran against Liberals, and culminated in the "Joh for Canberra
Joh for Canberra
The Joh for Canberra or Joh for PM campaign was an attempt by the Queensland branch of the National Party of Australia to install Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen as Prime Minister of Australia....

" campaign. Keating successfully campaigned against John Howard's proposed tax changes forcing Howard to admit a double-counting
Double counting (accounting)
Double counting in accounting is an error whereby a transaction is counted more than once, for whatever reason. But in social accounting it also refers to a conceptual problem in social accounting practice, when the attempt is made to estimate the new value added by Gross Output, or the value of...

 in the proposal, and emphasising to the electorate that the package would mean at that stage undisclosed cuts to government services. The Hawke Government was re-elected with an increased majority.

Howard's social agenda
In his social agenda, Howard promoted the traditional family and was antipathetic to the promotion of multiculturalism
Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

 at the expense of a shared Australian identity. The immigration policy, One Australia
One Australia policy
One Australia was the immigration and ethnic affairs policy of the Liberal-National opposition in Australia, released in 1988. The One Australia policy proclaimed a vision of "one nation and one future"...

, outlined a vision of "one nation and one future" and opposed multiculturalism. In a radio interview discussing multiculturalism Howard suggested that to support "social cohesion" the rate of Asian immigration be "slowed down a little". The comments divided opinion within the Coalition, and undermined Howard's standing amongst Liberal party figures including federal and state Ministers, intellectual opinion makers, business leaders, and within the Asia Pacific. Prime Minister Hawke moved a motion to affirm that race or ethnicity would not be used as immigrant selection criteria to which three Liberal MPs crossed the floor
Crossing the floor
In politics, crossing the floor has two meanings referring to a change of allegiance in a Westminster system parliament.The term originates from the British House of Commons, which is configured with the Government and Opposition facing each other on rows of benches...

 and two abstained. Many Liberals later nominated the issue as instrumental in Howard subsequently losing the leadership in 1989.

In line with "One Australia's" rejection of Aboriginal land rights, Howard said the idea of an Aboriginal treaty was "repugnant to the ideals of One Australia" and commented "I don't think it is wrong, racist, immoral or anything, for a country to say 'we will decide what the cultural identity and the cultural destiny of this country will be and nobody else."

Loss of the leadership
As the country's economic position worsened in 1989, public opinion moved away from Labor, but Howard was unable to translate this into a firm opinion poll lead for himself and the Coalition. In February, Liberal Party president and prominent businessman, John Elliott
John Elliott (businessman)
John Dorman Elliott is a former president of the Liberal Party, and former president of Carlton Football Club. In 2003 he was found guilty of trading while insolvent and in 2005 declared bankrupt...

, said confidentially to Andrew Peacock that he would support him in a leadership challenge against Howard. Following months of plotting by Elliot, Peacock and supporters, in May a surprise leadership coup was launched, ousting Howard as Liberal leader. When asked that day whether he could become Liberal leader again, Howard famously likened it to "Lazarus with a triple bypass". The loss of the Liberal Party leadership to Peacock deeply affected Howard, who admitted he would occasionally drink too much. Declining Peacock's offer of Shadow Education, Howard went to the backbench and a new period of party disunity ensued. Howard served as Shadow Minister for Industry, Technology and Communications, Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on the Public Service, Chairman of the Manpower and Labour Market Reform Group, Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations and Manager of Opposition Business in the House.

Following the Coalition's 1990 election loss, Peacock was replaced with former Howard staffer Dr. John Hewson
John Hewson
John Robert Hewson AM is an Australian economist, company director and a former politician. He was federal leader of the Liberal Party of Australia from 1990 to 1994 and led the party to defeat at the 1993 federal election.-Early life:...

. Howard was a supporter of Hewson's economic program, with a Goods and Services Tax
Goods and Services Tax (Australia)
The GST is a broad sales tax of 10% on most goods and services transactions in Australia. It is a value added tax, not a sales tax, in that it is refunded to all parties in the chain of production other than the final consumer....

 (GST) as its centrepiece. After Hewson lost the "unloseable" 1993 election to Paul Keating
Paul Keating
Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

, Howard unsuccessfully challenged Hewson for the leadership. In 1994, he was again passed over for the leadership, which went to Alexander Downer
Alexander Downer
Alexander John Gosse Downer is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was Foreign Minister of Australia from March 1996 to December 2007, the longest-serving in Australian history...

. In a 7 January 1995 newspaper article (and in 2002 as Prime Minister), Howard recanted his 1988 remarks on curbing Asian immigration.

Opposition leader again
In January 1995, leaked internal Liberal Party polling showed that with gaffe-prone Downer as leader, the Coalition had slim chance of holding its marginal seats in the next election, let alone of winning government. Media speculation of a leadership spill ended when, on 26 January 1995, Downer resigned as Liberal Leader and Howard was elected unopposed to replace him. The Coalition
Coalition (Australia)
The Coalition in Australian politics refers to a group of centre-right parties that has existed in the form of a coalition agreement since 1922...

 subsequently opened a large lead over Labor in most opinion polls, and Howard overtook his old nemesis Paul Keating
Paul Keating
Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

 as preferred Prime Minister.

Hoping to avoid a repeat of 1993, Howard revised his earlier statements against Medicare
Medicare (Australia)
Medicare is Australia's publicly funded universal health care system, operated by the government authority Medicare Australia. Medicare is intended to provide affordable treatment by doctors and in public hospitals for all resident citizens and permanent residents except for those on Norfolk Island...

 and Asian immigration, describing Australia as "a unique intersection between Europe, North America and Asia". This allowed Howard to focus on the economy and memory of the early 1990s recession, and on the longevity of the Labor government, which in 1996 had been in power for 13 years.

Prime minister


Election win and first term

By the time the writs were dropped
Dropping the writ
Dropping the writ is the informal term for a procedure in some parliamentary government systems, where the head of government goes to the head of state and formally advises him or her to dissolve parliament...

 for the 1996 election, the Coalition had been well ahead of Labor in opinion polls for over a year. The consensus of most opinion polls was that Howard would be the next Prime Minister.

With the support of many traditionally Labor voters—dubbed "Howard battlers
Aussie battler
The term Aussie Battler is an Australian colloquialism referring to "ordinary" or working class individuals who persevere through their commitments despite adversity. Typically, this adversity comprises the challenges of low pay, family commitments, environmental hardships and lack of personal...

"—Howard and the Liberal-National Coalition swept to power on the back of a 29-seat swing. This was the second-worst defeat of an incumbent government since Federation. With a 45-seat majority—the second-biggest majority in Australian history (behind only Fraser's 55-seat majority in 1975)--Howard came into office in a strong position. By this time, as he put it, he had "very clear views on where I wanted to take the country". At the age of 56, he was sworn in as Prime Minister on 11 March 1996, ending a record 13 years of Coalition opposition. Howard departed from tradition and made his primary residence Kirribilli House
Kirribilli House
Kirribilli House is the official Sydney residence of the Australian Prime Minister. The house is located at the far eastern end of Kirribilli Avenue in the harbourside suburb of Kirribilli...

 in Sydney rather than The Lodge in Canberra.

Early in the term Howard had championed significant new restrictions on gun ownership following the Port Arthur massacre in which 35 people had been shot dead. Achieving agreement in the face of immense opposition from within the Coalition and some State governments, was credited with significantly elevating John Howard’s stature as Prime Minister despite a backlash from core Coalition rural constituents.

Howard's initial silence on the views of Pauline Hanson
Pauline Hanson
Pauline Lee Hanson is an Australian politician and former leader of Pauline Hanson's One Nation, a political party with a populist and anti-multiculturalism platform...

—a disendorsed Liberal Party candidate and later independent MP—was criticised in the press as an endorsement of her views. Howard said that she was entitled to express her opinion, that many others would share it, and that to denounce her would "elevate it". Howard repudiated her views seven months after Hanson's controversial maiden parliamentary speech.

Following the Wik Decision
Wik Peoples v Queensland
Wik Peoples v The State of Queensland is a decision of the High Court of Australia delivered on 23 December 1996 on whether statutory leases extinguish native title rights. The court found that the statutory pastoral leases under consideration by the court did not bestow rights of exclusive...

 of the High Court in 1996, John Howard's government moved swiftly to legislate limitations on its possible implications through the so-called Ten-Point Plan
Native Title Amendment Act 1998
The Native Title Amendment Act 1998 , also commonly referred to as the "10 Point Plan" is an Australian law created by the John Howard led Liberal government in response to the 1996 Wik Decision by the High Court of Australia...

.
From 1997, Howard spear-headed the Coalition push to introduce a Goods and Services Tax
Goods and Services Tax (Australia)
The GST is a broad sales tax of 10% on most goods and services transactions in Australia. It is a value added tax, not a sales tax, in that it is refunded to all parties in the chain of production other than the final consumer....

 (GST) at the 1998 election. Before winning the Prime Ministership, Howard said that he considered the Coalition's defeat in 1993 to be a rejection of the GST, and as a result it would "never ever" be part of Coalition policy. A long held conviction of Howard’s, his tax reform package was credited with "breaking the circuit" of party morale—boosting his confidence and direction, which had appeared to wane early in the Government’s second term. The 1998 election was dubbed a "referendum on the GST", and the tax changes—including the GST—were implemented in the government's second term after amendments to the legislation were negotiated with the Australian Democrats
Australian Democrats
The Australian Democrats is an Australian political party espousing a socially liberal ideology. It was formed in 1977, by a merger of the Australia Party and the New LM, after principals of those minor parties secured the commitment of former Liberal minister Don Chipp, as a high profile leader...

 to ensure its passage through the Senate.

Through much of its first term, opinion polling was disappointing for the government and its members at times feared being a "one-term wonder". The popularity of Pauline Hanson, and the new restrictions on gun ownership drew many traditionally Coalition voters away from the Howard government. Also unpopular with voters were large spending cuts aimed at eliminating the budget deficit (and Howard's distinction between "core" and "non-core" election promises when cutting spending commitments), industrial changes
Workplace Relations Act 1996
The Workplace Relations Act 1996 is an Australian law passed by the Howard Government after coming into power in 1996. It replaced the previous Labor Government's Industrial Relations Act 1988. It started operation on 1 January 1997 and provided for the continuation of the federal award system...

 and the 1998 waterfront dispute
1998 Australian waterfront dispute
The Australian waterfront dispute of 1998 was a watershed event in Australian Industrial Relations history, in which the Patrick Corporation undertook a restructuring of their operations for the purpose of increasing the productivity of their workforce...

, the partial sale of government telecommunications company Telstra
Telstra
Telstra Corporation Limited is an Australian telecommunications and media company, building and operating telecommunications networks and marketing voice, mobile, internet access and pay television products and services....

, and the Government's commitment to a GST.

Howard called a snap election for October 1998, three months sooner than required. The Coalition actually lost the national two-party preferred vote to Labor, suffering a 14-seat swing. However, the uneven nature of the swing allowed Howard to win a second term in government, with a considerably reduced majority (from 45 seats to 12). Howard himself finished just short of a majority on the first count in his own seat, and was only assured of reelection on the ninth count. He ultimately finished with a fairly comfortable 56 percent of the two-party preferred vote.

Second term

In 1998, Howard convened a Constitutional Convention
Australian Constitutional Convention 1998
The Australian Constitutional Convention 1998 was a Constitutional Convention which gathered at Old Parliament House, Canberra from 2–13 February 1998. It was called by the Howard Government to discuss whether Australia should become a republic...

 which decided in principle that Australia should become a Republic
Republicanism in Australia
Republicanism in Australia is a movement to change Australia's status as a constitutional monarchy to a republican form of government. Such sentiments have been expressed in Australia from before federation onward to the present...

. At the convention Howard confirmed himself as a monarchist, and said that of the Republican options, he preferred the minimalist model. Howard outlined his support for retaining the status quo
Status quo
Statu quo, a commonly used form of the original Latin "statu quo" – literally "the state in which" – is a Latin term meaning the current or existing state of affairs. To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are...

 on the basis that it had provided a long period of stability and whilst he said there was no question that Australia was a fully independent nation, he believed that the "separation of the ceremonial and executive functions of government" and the presence of a neutral "defender of constitutional integrity" was an advantage in government and that no republican model would be as effective in providing such an outcome as the Australian constitutional monarchy
Monarchy in Australia
The Monarchy of Australia is a form of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign of Australia. The monarchy is a constitutional one modelled on the Westminster style of parliamentary government, incorporating features unique to the Constitution of Australia.The present monarch is...

. Despite opinion polls suggesting Australians favoured a republic, a 1999 referendum rejected the model chosen by the convention.
Although new Indonesian President B.J. Habibie had some months earlier agreed to grant special autonomy to Indonesian-occupied
Indonesian occupation of East Timor
Indonesia occupied East Timor from December 1975 to October 1999. After centuries of Portuguese colonial rule in East Timor, a 1974 coup in Portugal led to decolonization among its former colonies, creating instability in East Timor and leaving its future uncertain...

 East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

, his subsequent snap decision for a referendum on the territory's independence was triggered by a Howard and Downer orchestrated shift in Australian policy. In September 1999, Howard organised an Australian-led international peace-keeping force to East Timor (INTERFET
INTERFET
The International Force for East Timor was a multinational peacekeeping taskforce, mandated by the United Nations to address the humanitarian and security crisis which took place in East Timor from 1999–2000 until the arrival of United Nations peacekeepers...

), after pro-Indonesia militia
Pro-Indonesia militia
Pro-Indonesia militias were East Timorese paramilitary militia groups that formed to show loyalty to the Indonesian government during the movement for East Timorese independence in the late 1990s...

 launched a violent "scorched-earth" campaign in retaliation to the referendum's overwhelming vote in favour of independence. The successful mission was widely supported by Australian voters, but the government was criticised for "foreign policy failure" following the violence and collapse of diplomatic relations with Indonesia. By Howard's fourth term, relations with Indonesia had recovered to include counter-terrorism cooperation and Australia's $1bn Boxing Day Tsunami relief efforts, and were assisted by good relations between Howard and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono AC , is an Indonesian politician and retired Army general officer who has been President of Indonesia since 2004....

.

Throughout his prime-ministership, Howard was resolute in his refusal to provide a parliamentary "apology" to Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands. The Aboriginal Indigenous Australians migrated from the Indian continent around 75,000 to 100,000 years ago....

 as recommended by the 1997 “Bringing Them Home
Bringing Them Home
Bringing Them Home is the title of the Australian "Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families"...

” Report. Howard argued this was inappropriate, because "Australians of this generation should not be required to accept guilt and blame for past actions and policies." Howard did offer this personal apology before the release of the Report: "I feel deep sorrow for those of my fellow Australians who suffered injustices under the practices of past generations towards indigenous people. Equally, I am sorry for the hurt and trauma many here today may continue to feel, as a consequence of these practices”.

In 1999 Howard negotiated a "Motion of Reconciliation
Motion of Reconciliation
The Motion of Reconciliation was a motion to the Australian Parliament introduced on 26 August 1999. Drafted by Prime Minister John Howard in consulation with Aboriginal Senator Aden Ridgeway , it dedicated the Parliament to the "cause of reconciliation" and recognised historic maltreatment of...

" with Aboriginal Senator Aden Ridgeway
Aden Ridgeway
Aden Derek Ridgeway , Australian politician, was a member of the Australian Senate for New South Wales, from 1999 to 2005, representing the Australian Democrats. During his term he was the only Aboriginal member of the Australian Parliament.-Early history:Ridgeway was born in Macksville, New South...

. Eschewing use of the word "sorry", the motion recognised mistreatment of Aborigines as the "most blemished chapter" in Australia's history; offered "deep and sincere regret" for past injustices. Following his 2007 loss of the Prime Ministership, Howard was the only living former Prime Minister who declined to attend the February 2008 apology made by Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd
Kevin Michael Rudd is an Australian politician who was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010. He has been Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2010...

 with bi-partisan support.

Howard did not commit to serving a full term if he won the next election; on his 61st birthday in July 2000 he said he would consider the question of retirement when he turned 64. This was interpreted as boosting Costello’s leadership aspirations, and the enmity over leadership and succession resurfaced publicly when Howard did not retire at the age of 64. In the first half of 2001, rising petrol prices, voter enmity over the implementation of the GST, a spike in inflation and economic slowdown led to bad opinion polls and predictions the Government would lose office in the election later that year. With Howard telling Cabinet he would not be "sacrificed on the pyre of ideological purity", the government announced a series of policy reversals and softenings which boosted the government's fortunes, as did news that the economy had avoided recession. Following the Liberal Party win at the Aston by-election, Howard said that the Coalition was "back in the game". The government's position on "border protection", in particular the Tampa affair
Tampa affair
In August 2001, the Howard Government of Australia refused permission for the Norwegian freighter MV Tampa, carrying 438 rescued Afghans from a distressed fishing vessel in international waters, to enter Australian waters...

 where Howard refused the landing of asylum seekers rescued by a Norwegian freighter, consolidated the improving polls for the government, as did the 11 September 2001 attacks. Howard led the government to victory in the 2001 federal election with an increased majority.

Third term

Howard had first met US President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 in the days before the 11 September terrorist attacks and was in Washington the morning of the attacks. In response to the attacks, Howard invoked the ANZUS Treaty and said that the invocation of the treaty "demonstrates Australia's steadfast commitment to work with the United States.” In October, he committed Australian military personnel to the war in Afghanistan. Howard developed a strong personal relationship with the president, and they shared often similar ideological positions – including on the role of the United States in world affairs and their approach to the "War on Terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

". In May 2003, Howard made an overnight stay at Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch
Prairie Chapel Ranch
Prairie Chapel Ranch is a 1,583 acre ranch in unincorporated McLennan County, Texas, located seven miles northwest of Crawford. The property was acquired by President George W...

 in Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, after which Bush said that Howard "...is not only a man of steel, he's showed the world he's a man of heart."

Howard responded to the 2002 Bali bombing
2002 Bali bombing
The 2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. The attack was claimed as the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia according to the current police general, killing 202 people,...

, in which 88 Australian citizens were killed, by calling on Australians to "wrap their arms around the people of Indonesia" and said that, while affected, Australia remained "strong and free and open and tolerant". Howard re-dedicated his government to the "War on Terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

", saying the Bali bombing was proof that no country was "immune" to the effects of terrorism.

In March 2003, Australia joined the US-led "Multinational force in Iraq
Multinational force in Iraq
The Multi-National Force – Iraq was a military command, led by the United States, which was responsible for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Multi-National Force – Iraq replaced the previous force, Combined Joint Task Force 7, on 15 May 2004, and was later itself reorganized into its successor, United...

" in sending 2,000 troops and naval units
Australian contribution to the 2003 invasion of Iraq
The Howard Government supported the disarmament of Iraq during the Iraq disarmament crisis. Australia later provided one of the four most substantial combat force contingents during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, under the operational codename Operation Falconer. Part of its contingent were among the...

 to support in the invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. Howard said that the invasion to "disarm Iraq...is right, it is lawful, and it is in Australia’s national interest." He later said that the decision to go into Iraq was the most difficult he made as Prime Minister. In response to the Australian participation in the invasion, there were large protests in Australian cities during March 2003, and Prime Minister Howard was heckled from the public gallery of Parliament House. While opinion polls showed that opposition to the war without UN backing was between 48 and 92 per cent, Howard remained preferred prime-minister over opposition leader, Simon Crean
Simon Crean
Simon Findlay Crean is an Australian politician, and the current Minister for the Arts and Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government in the Australian Federal Government. He was leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition at the Federal level,...

, and his approval dropped compared to before the war.

Throughout 2002 and 2003 Howard had increased his opinion poll lead over Labor leader, Simon Crean
Simon Crean
Simon Findlay Crean is an Australian politician, and the current Minister for the Arts and Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government in the Australian Federal Government. He was leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition at the Federal level,...

. In December 2003, Crean resigned after losing party support and Mark Latham
Mark Latham
Mark William Latham , an author and former Australian politician, was leader of the Federal Parliamentary Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition from December 2003 to January 2005....

 was elected leader. Howard called an election for 9 October 2004. While the government was behind Labor in the opinion polls, Howard himself had a large lead over Latham as preferred Prime Minister. In the lead up to the election, Howard again did not commit to serving a full term. Howard campaigned on the theme of trust, asking: "Who do you trust to keep the economy strong, and protect family living standards? Who do you trust to keep interest rates low?" Howard attacked Latham's economic record as Mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 of Liverpool City Council
City of Liverpool, New South Wales
The City of Liverpool is a Local Government Area to the southwest of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia.-History:It is one of the oldest urban settlements in Australia, founded in 1810 as an agricultural centre by Governor Lachlan Macquarie...

 and attacked Labor's economic history saying: "It is an historic fact that interest rates have always gone up under Labor governments over the last 30 years, because Labor governments spend more than they collect and drive budgets into deficit ... So it will be with a Latham Labor government... I will guarantee that interest rates are always going to be lower under a Coalition government." The election resulted in a five-seat swing to the Coalition, netting it a majority almost as large as in 1996. It also resulted the first, albeit slim, government majority in the Senate since 1981. For the second time since becoming Prime Minister, Howard came up short of a majority in the first count for his own seat. He was assured of reelection on the third count, ultimately winning 53.3 percent of the two-party preferred vote. On 21 December 2004, Howard became the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies
Robert Menzies
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, , Australian politician, was the 12th and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia....

.

Fourth term

In 2006, with the government now controlling both houses of parliament for the first time since the Fraser era, industrial relations changes were enacted. Named “WorkChoices
WorkChoices
The Workplace Relations Act 1996, as amended by the Workplace Relations Amendment Act 2005, popularly known as Work Choices, was a Legislative Act of the Australian Parliament that came into effect in March 2006 which involved many controversial amendments to the Workplace Relations Act 1996, the...

” and championed by Howard, they were intended to fundamentally change the employer-employee relationship. Opposed by a broad trade union campaign and antipathy within the electorate, WorkChoices was subsequently seen as a major factor in the government’s 2007 election loss.

In April 2006, the government announced it had completely paid off the last of $96 billion of Commonwealth net debt inherited when it came to power in 1996. By 2007, Howard had been in office for 11 of the 15 years of consecutive annual growth enjoyed by the Australian economy. Unemployment had fallen from 8.1% at the start of his term to 4.1% in 2007, and average weekly earnings grew 24.4% in real terms. Howard often cited economic management as a strong point of the government, and during his Prime Ministership, opinion polling consistently showed that a majority of the electorate thought his government were better to handle the economy than the Opposition.

In 2006, Ian McLachlan
Ian McLachlan
Ian Murray McLachlan AO is an Australian landowner, former first-class cricketer, and former member of the Australian House of Representatives.-Early life:...

 and Peter Costello said that under a 1994 deal between Howard and Costello, Howard would serve one and half terms as Prime Minister if the Coalition won the next election before stepping aside to allow Costello to take over. Howard denied that this constituted a deal; and there were calls for Costello to either challenge or quit. Citing strong party room support for him as leader, Howard stated later that month that he would remain to contest the 2007 election. Six weeks before the election, Howard said that, if elected, he would stand down during the next term, and anointed Costello as his successor. Peter Costello
Peter Costello
Peter Howard Costello AC is an Australian politician and lawyer who served as the Treasurer in the Australian government from 1996 to 2007. He is the longest-serving Treasurer in Australian history. Costello was a Member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1990 to 2009, representing...

 commented, in 2007 whilst still in government, that "The Howard treasurership was not a success in terms of interest rates and inflation... he had not been a great reformer," and questioned Howard's account of his conflicts with the Prime Minister Fraser.

The Coalition trailed Labor in opinion polls from mid-2006 onward, but Howard still consistently led Labor leader Kim Beazley
Kim Beazley
In the October 1998 election, Labor polled a majority of the two-party vote and received the largest swing to a first-term opposition since 1934. However, due to the uneven nature of the swing, Labor came up eight seats short of making Beazley Prime Minister....

 on the question of preferred Prime Minister – and was even described as a "revolutionary" in his opposition to unionism. In December 2006, after Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd
Kevin Michael Rudd is an Australian politician who was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010. He has been Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2010...

 became Labor leader, the two-party preferred deficit widened even further and Rudd swiftly overtook Howard as preferred Prime Minister. Howard chaired APEC Australia 2007
APEC Australia 2007
APEC Australia 2007 was a series of political meetings held around Australia between the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation during 2007...

, culminating in the APEC
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region...

 Economic Leaders Meeting in Sydney during September. The meeting was at times overshadowed by further leadership speculation following continued poor poll results.

2007 election defeat


Leading up to the 24 November election, the Coalition trailed Labor in the polls since the Labor party elected Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd
Kevin Michael Rudd is an Australian politician who was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010. He has been Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2010...

 as party leader in late 2006. By the time the writs were issued, it was obvious that the Coalition would not be reelected.

In the election, Howard and his government were soundly defeated, suffering a 23-seat swing to Labor—almost as large as the 29-seat swing that propelled him to power in 1996. Howard lost his seat of Bennelong to former journalist Maxine McKew
Maxine McKew
Maxine Margaret McKew , is a former Australian politician and journalist; she was the Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government in the Rudd Ministry and the First Gillard Ministry. Between 2007 and 2010, she was the member of the House of...

 by 44,685 votes (51.4 percent) to Howard's 42,251 (48.6 percent). The final tally indicated that McKew defeated Howard on the 14th count due to a large flow of Green
Australian Greens
The Australian Greens, commonly known as The Greens, is an Australian green political party.The party was formed in 1992; however, its origins can be traced to the early environmental movement in Australia and the formation of the United Tasmania Group , the first Green party in the world, which...

 preferences to her; 3,793 (78.84 percent) of Green voters listed McKew as their second preference.

Howard told a former colleague that losing Bennelong was a "silver lining in the thunder cloud of defeat" as it spared him the ignominy of opposition. He remained in office as caretaker Prime Minister until the formal swearing in of Rudd's government on 3 December. Howard is the second Australian Prime Minister, after Stanley Bruce
Stanley Bruce
Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1st Viscount Bruce of Melbourne, CH, MC, FRS, PC , was an Australian politician and diplomat, and the eighth Prime Minister of Australia. He was the second Australian granted an hereditary peerage of the United Kingdom, but the first whose peerage was formally created...

, to lose his seat in an election.

After the election loss, Costello declined to accept the role of leader of the opposition, and Brendan Nelson
Brendan Nelson
Dr Brendan John Nelson is a former Australian politician and former federal Opposition leader. He served as a member of the Australian House of Representatives from the 1996 federal election until 19 October 2009 as the Liberal member for Bradfield, a northern Sydney seat...

 was elected as leader of the parliamentary Liberal Party.

Federal Liberal Party director Brian Loughnane said "it was the failure of Kim Beazley
Kim Beazley
In the October 1998 election, Labor polled a majority of the two-party vote and received the largest swing to a first-term opposition since 1934. However, due to the uneven nature of the swing, Labor came up eight seats short of making Beazley Prime Minister....

's leadership that had masked voter concerns about Howard". Media analysis of The Australian Election Study, a postal survey of 1873 voters during the 2007 poll, found that although respondents respected Howard and thought he had won the 6-week election campaign, Howard was considered "at odds with public opinion on cut-through issues", his opponent had achieved the highest "likeability" rating in the survey's 20-year history, and a majority had decided their voting intention prior to the election campaign.

After politics

In January 2008, John Howard signed with a prominent speaking agency called the Washington Speakers Bureau, joining Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

, Colin Powell
Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military...

, Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Korbelová Albright is the first woman to become a United States Secretary of State. She was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99–0...

, and others. He will be available for two speeches, Leadership in the New Century and The Global Economic Future.

The Australian and New Zealand cricket boards jointly nominated Howard as their candidate for president of the International Cricket Council
International Cricket Council
The International Cricket Council is the international governing body of cricket. It was founded as the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909 by representatives from England, Australia and South Africa, renamed the International Cricket Conference in 1965, and took up its current name in 1989.The...

. However, his nomination was rejected by the ICC's executive board in Singapore after members from six countries signaled their intention to block the appointment. Howard is currently the chairman of the International Democrat Union
International Democrat Union
The International Democrat Union, abbreviated to IDU, is a centre-right international alliance of conservative and liberal-conservative political parties. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, the IDU comprises 45 full or associate members...

, a body of international conservative political parties.

Howard's autobiography Lazarus Rising: A Personal and Political Autobiography
Lazarus Rising: A Personal and Political Autobiography
Lazarus Rising: A Personal and Political Autobiography is the autobiography of former Australian Prime Minister and Liberal Party of Australia leader, John Howard...

was released on 26 October 2010.

Honours

  • Recognised as Australian Father of the Year
    Australian Father Of The Year award
    The Australian Father Of The Year award is an Australian award to honor and showcase a fine example of Australian fatherhood. Spanning over fifty years, the ‘Australian Father of the Year’ has been awarded to high-profile, famous fathers, from prime ministers & politicians to sportsmen and business...

     in 1997
  • Awarded the Centenary Medal
    Centenary Medal
    The Centenary Medal is an award created by the Australian Government in 2001. It was established to commemorate the Centenary of Federation of Australia and to honour people who have made a contribution to Australian society or government...

     on 1 January 2001
  • Awarded the Star of the Solomon Islands
    Star of the Solomon Islands
    The Star of the Solomon Islands, established in 1981 is the highest honour of the Solomon Islands. Recipients are allowed to use the post nominal "SSI".-Recipients:Notable recipients include:* Helen Clark, ONZ* John Howard, AC...

     together with Prime Minister of New Zealand
    Prime Minister of New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand is New Zealand's head of government consequent on being the leader of the party or coalition with majority support in the Parliament of New Zealand...

     Helen Clark
    Helen Clark
    Helen Elizabeth Clark, ONZ is a New Zealand political figure who was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008...

     on 15 June 2005 for their respective roles in restoring law and order in the Solomon Islands
    Solomon Islands
    Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

     This award allows him to use the post-nominal letters "SSI"
  • Received the Woodrow Wilson Award from the Woodrow Wilson Center of the U.S. Smithsonian Institution
    Smithsonian Institution
    The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

     on 22 August 2005 in Sydney
  • B'nai B'rith International bestowed its Presidential Gold Medal on Howard in May 2006
  • Irving Kristol Award
    Irving Kristol Award
    The Irving Kristol Award is the highest honor conferred by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.The award is given for "notable intellectual or practical contributions to improved public policy and social welfare" and named in honor of Irving Kristol. It replaced the Francis...

    , the highest award of the American Enterprise Institute
    American Enterprise Institute
    The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

    , 5 March 2008
  • Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service
    Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service
    The Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service were created under the will of the late Ralph Hayes, an influential American business executive and philanthropist. Hayes conceived the awards to reward and encourage the best of human performance worldwide. Hayes served on the board of directors...

     in Government, 6 April 2008
  • Appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia
    Order of Australia
    The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...

     in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours
    Queen's Birthday Honours
    The Queen's Birthday Honours is a part of the British honours system, being a civic occasion on the celebration of the Queen's Official Birthday in which new members of most Commonwealth Realms honours are named. The awards are presented by the reigning monarch or head of state, currently Queen...

     list "for distinguished service to the Parliament of Australia, particularly as Prime Minister and through contributions to economic and social policy reform, fostering and promoting Australia's interests internationally, and the development of significant philanthropic links between the business sector, arts and charitable organisations."
  • Received honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; ; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, after the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J...

     in December 2008 for "outstanding statesmanship and leading role on the world stage in promoting democracy and combating international terrorism" and his "remarkable understanding of, and exceptional support for, the State of Israel and his deep friendship with the Australian Jewish community"
  • Awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom
    Presidential Medal of Freedom
    The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

     on 13 January 2009 by President George W. Bush
  • Honorary doctorate from Bond University
    Bond University
    Bond University is a private university located in Robina, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It is also the first private university established in Australia...

    , 14 February 2009
  • His portrait, by Australian artist Shen Jiawei, was hung in the Members' Hall of the Australian Parliament House
    Parliament House, Canberra
    Parliament House is the meeting facility of the Parliament of Australia located in Canberra, the capital of Australia. The building was designed by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects and opened on 1988 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia...

     in 2010 as part of the Historic Memorials Collection






See also

  • First Howard Ministry
    First Howard Ministry
    The First Howard Ministry was the sixty-first Australian Commonwealth ministry....

  • Second Howard Ministry
    Second Howard Ministry
    The Second Howard Ministry was the sixty-second Australian Commonwealth ministry, and ran from 21 October 1998 to 26 November 2001....

  • Third Howard Ministry
    Third Howard Ministry
    The Third Howard Ministry was the sixty-third Australian Commonwealth ministry....

  • Fourth Howard Ministry
    Fourth Howard Ministry
    The Fourth Howard Ministry was the 64th Australian ministry.It was sworn in by the Governor-General Major-General Michael Jeffery on 22 October 2004, and it ended on 3 December 2007 when the Prime Minister resigned his commission after losing the 2007 election to the Australian Labor Party led by...


External links


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