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John Howard

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John Howard
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John Howard became Australia’s 25th Prime Minister on 11 March 1996.

Prime Minister John Howard with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in June 1997. By kind permission AUSPIC. Prime Minister John Howard with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in June 1997.
By kind permission AUSPIC.

He has held the House of Representatives seat of Bennelong since 1974. His first portfolio came in the coalition government of Malcolm Fraser and Doug Anthony, as Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs from 1975 to 1977. John Howard was then Treasurer from 1977 until the government lost office in 1983.

Howard was leader of the Opposition from 1985 to 1989, and then from 1995 until the Liberal–National Party Coalition won government at the 1996 federal election.

The Coalition was re-elected in 1998, 2001 and 2004. On 21 November 2004 John Howard overtook Bob Hawke as Australia’s second longest-serving Prime Minister after Robert Menzies. On that date John Howard had been Prime Minister for 8 years, 9 months and 11 days.

John Howard leads a government with a wide reform agenda. Soon after taking office the government began the sale of Telstra, the nation’s chief telecommunications carrier. A priority was given to restructuring industrial relations, including the introduction of direct employer–employee enterprise agreements. Another key reform was the achievement of a goods and services tax.

In international relations, the government provided support enabling East Timor to achieve independence and developed an ‘Asia-plus’ diplomacy to integrate the evolving threads of Australian diplomacy. Australia’s part in the logistic responses to international terrorism remains a key aspect of foreign and defence policy for the Howard government.

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