Former Prime Minister of Australia
The Honourable John Winston Howard served as the 25th Prime Minister of Australia from March 1996 until November 2007. He has been Australia's second longest serving Prime Minister. Mr. Howard led the centre/right Liberal Party of Australia for a total of 16 years. He was a member of the House of Representatives for 33 years. Prior to becoming Prime Minister, Mr. Howard had extensive senior experience in both government and opposition. He served as Treasurer (finance minister) in a previous government and led his party in opposition for a number of years.
Mr Howard delivers insightful presentations on a broad range of topics that include the global economic future, the role of leaders in a new century, international relations, international security and Australian business.
About Hon. John Howard:
Mr. Howard is a conservative on social policy, who pursued broadly pro-market economic policies in his time as Prime Minister. During his period in office, Australia experienced continued economic growth averaging 3.6% per annum.
The federal government budget of Australia was in heavy deficit when Mr. Howard's government came to power. That deficit was eliminated and 10 of the 12 annual budgets produced by the Howard government during its almost 12 years of government were in surplus. In that time, $96 billion of federal government debt was repaid.
As well as fiscal consolidation, the Howard government undertook major reform of the Australian taxation system through the introduction of a goods and services tax, which was accompanied by reductions in personal income tax and corporate tax rates. He also substantially reformed Australia's labor laws through a freer and less regulated labor market. Australia's unemployment rate fell to a 33-year low of 4.3%.
In the field of foreign policy, Australia, under Mr. Howard's government, was both a strong and close ally of the United States as well as expanding very extensive links with the nations of Asia. A particular feature of the Howard government's time in power was the development of the relationship with China, which grew to become Australia's largest export market.
Under John Howard's leadership, Australian forces joined the coalition of the willing in Iraq in March 2003. Australia has strongly supported the war against terrorism with her forces continuing to serve alongside American and other coalition forces in Afghanistan. Defense spending rose significantly under Mr. Howard's leadership, with the amount being committed growing by some 47% in real terms between 1996 and 2007.
Shortly after Mr. Howard came to power, he responded to the massacre of 35 people by a lone gunman at Port Arthur in Tasmania with the implementation of national gun control laws, which drastically curtailed the possession of many firearms.
John Howard was in Washington on an official visit at the time of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. He addressed a joint sitting of Congress in 2002. He currently serves as Chairman of the International Democratic Union - an international grouping of centre/right parties including the Republican Party.
Mr. Howard's government was also responsible for major reforms in social policy, including measures to move people from welfare payments into paid work, the involvement of faith-based and other non government organizations in the provision of certain welfare services and a strengthening of Australia's universal Medicare system.
John Howard was born in Sydney, Australia, on July 26, 1939 and attended school at Earlwood Primary then Canterbury Boys' High. He went on to the University of Sydney, graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1961 and was admitted as a Solicitor of the NSW Supreme Court in July 1962. Prior to his election to Parliament, he was a partner in a Sydney firm of solicitors.
John Howard is a fan of many sports, particularly cricket and rugby. He plays golf regularly.