John Howard

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John Howard

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 to 1983 and was Leader of the Liberal Party from 1985 until 1989, and again from 1995 to 2007.

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  • 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...
  • The most important civil liberty... is to stay alive and to be free from violence and death...
  • 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.
  • Truth is absolute, truth is supreme, truth is never disposable in national political life.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • There's no way that a GST will ever be part of our policy... never ever, it's dead it was killed by the voters in the last election.
    • Television interview in 1995
  • 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
  • National Security is therefore about a proper response to terrorism. It's also about having a far sighted, strong, well thought out defence policy. It is also about having an uncompromising view about the fundamental right of this country to protect its borders. It's about this nation saying to the world we are a generous open hearted people, taking more refugees on a per capita basis than any nation except Canada, we have a proud record of welcoming people from 140 different nations. But we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.
    • 2001 Federal Election Campaign Launch Speech, 28th October 2001
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A conservative is someone who does not think he is morally superior to his grandfather.
    • Quote from The Howard Era.
  • 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'.
    • Quoted in "Howard reasserts right to decide cultural identity," The Age, September 20, 1988.

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