John Howard

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Our life's journey of self-discovery is not a straight-line rise from one level of consciousness to another. Instead, it is a series of steep climbs and flat plateaus, then further climbs. Even though we all approach the journey from different directions, certain of the journey's characteristics are common to all of us.
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John Winston Howard (born 26 July 1939) is an Australian politician and was the Prime Minister of Australia from 1996 until 2007. He previously served as Treasurer from 1977–1983 and was Leader of the Liberal Party from 1985 until 1989, and again from 1995-2007.


  • We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.
    • 6 December, 2001
  • I accept that in a free society you have to justify reductions in people's liberties. I accept that, bearing in mind my starting point is that the most important human right is the right to life...
    • Terrorism Summit (Friday, August 5, 2005)
  • 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)
  • John Howard: No, there's no way that a GST will ever be part of our policy.
    Journalist: Never ever?
    John Howard: Never ever. It's dead. It was killed by the voters in the last election.
    • Interview, Tweed Heads Civic Centre (2 May 1995)
  • Journalist: Do you see yourself as having another chance at the leadership at some future time?
    John Howard: Oh, that'd be Lazarus with a triple bypass.
    • Press conference, 9th of May 1989, after losing the Liberal Party leadership.
  • I've never believed in lower wages. Never. Never believed in lower wages, I've never believed in lower wages as an economic instrument.
  • 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.
  • You can not legislate morality.
    • Speech in respect to restricting recently resigned government Ministers getting jobs in industries of their recent portfolio (10 August 2004)
  • I think history will judge him very harshly for not having seized the opportunity in the year 2000 to embrace the offer that was very courageously made by the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barack, which involved the Israelis agreeing to 90 per cent of what the Palestinians had wanted.
  • There is much in American society which I admire, but I have long held the view that the absence of an effective safety net in that country means that too many needy citizens fall by the wayside. That is not the path that Australia will tread. Nor do we want the burdens of nanny state paternalism that now weigh down many economies in Europe.
    • Australia Day Address, January 25, 2006
  • In the end, young people are at risk of being disinherited from their community if that community lacks the courage and confidence to teach its history.
    • Australia Day Address, January 25, 2006
  • I accept that climate change is a challenge, I accept the broad theory about global warming. I am sceptical about a lot of the more gloomy predictions.
    • Interview with Four Corners', ABC TV, August 28, 2006.
  • Australians have made a lot of mistakes, we have treated Aboriginal people very badly, and we have our share of racists and bigots. But a lot of the agenda of the cultural Left in this country is basically that the past has been a disgrace, that we’ve achieved very little, we’ve become the most materialistic country in the world and that we’re mean-spirited. We’re pretty awful people and we should be ashamed of ourselves and start all over again. Well, I don’t hold that view, and the overwhelming majority of Australians don’t hold that view, and they reject it.
    • 2006 interview with Time
  • We spent too much time in the first half of the nineties pondering whether we had to become less European so we could become more Asian, whether we had to become less British so we could become more multicultural. We had this perpetual seminar on our national identity, contributed to overwhelmingly by the cultural dietitians. I never thought Australians had any doubt as to what their identity was. And I think we’ve moved on from all of that.
    • 2006 interview with Time
  • If I were running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for [Barack] Obama but also for the Democrats.
    • Television interview on the Nine Network, February 11, 2007.
  • I don't care what New South Wales water or Victorian water, that's rubbish, they're all Australian Water
    • Commenting the State governments' unwillingness to share water interstately.
  • Australia does not need a new leadership, it does not need an old leadership, it needs the right leadership
    • When asked about he opinion on what leadership the country need on news, 2007.
  • My daughter said sorry she couldn't come because she has to go to a wedding.
    • At the News Press after his defeat in the 2007 election campaign.


  • My guarantee is my record.
    • Standard response to questions regarding guarantees in Parliament.
  • To me, multiculturalism suggests that we can't make up our minds who we are or what we believe in.
  • 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'.
  • You can't fatten the pig on market day.
  • If I am wrong and you are right then the democratic process of the Australian community will vindicate you and condemn me.
  • I have absolutely no difficulty myself with the playing of God Save the Queen in the presence of Her Majesty.
  • Terrorists oppose nations such as the United States and Australia not because of what we have done but because of who we are and because of the values that we hold in common.
  • I'm going to the football this weekend. I think it's almost sacrilegious to call an election while there are a couple of football Grand Finals on. I don't think the Australian people would thank me for that.

About John Howard

  • They tell me Australia and Texas have got a lot in common. Having watched this man perform I agree. The biggest compliment you can pay to somebody, at least in this part of the country, is you're kinda like a Texan.
  • The little dessicated coconut...
  • Take a very committed funeral home director. Then halve his personality, and halve it again, and you have pretty well got John Howard.

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