2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the Howard Coalition government’s election. In honour of the occasion, former prime minister John Howard and CIS executive director Tom Switzer sat down for a conversation about the policy successes (and failures) of his government as well as the current economic, cultural and foreign policy challenges facing Australia.
In 1995, Mr. Howard had inherited a party that had chalked up its fifth election defeat, only to lead it to win four elections on the trot. From March 1996 to November 2007, his government fundamentally transformed the political landscape. It cut taxes, reformed welfare, balanced the national books, wiped out government debt, loosened the trade unions’ grip on business, and presided over the longest economic boom since the gold rushes of the 19th century.
Under John Howard’s leadership, Australia led the 1999 peacekeeping effort in East Timor and was deeply involved in countering terrorism in Australia’s local neighbourhood and in farther flung areas, like the Middle East and Afghanistan.
John Howard was prime minister of Australia from March 1996 to November 2007 and a federal Liberal MP from 1974 to 2007. He has spoken at many CIS events, including our culture event in 2018.