John Howard Lecture
The Menzies Research Centre established the John Howard Lecture to honour John Howard's contribution to Australian public life over more than 30 years.
This lecture has become one of the most significant events on the Australian policy and political calendar. Each year the John Howard Lecture features a distinguished Australian or international speaker presenting a thought-provoking, topical address dealing with issues of current and future importance to Australia's prosperity and security.
John Howard’s Achievements
The Government led by John Howard created a more confident, prosperous, outward-looking, secure and socially-stable Australia.
Under John Howard's Government, the economy was stronger, more competitive and more productive than at any other time in Australia's history. The Howard Government achieved the lowest unemployment rate in 33 years, produced 10 budget surpluses, paid off $96 billion of Labor Government debt and comprehensively reformed the tax system, the waterfront and the labour market. Lower and middle income families became progressively better off. The legacy of changes to financial regulation, prudent management of public finance and a strengthened banking system meant Australia was rated consistently as one of the most robust and resilient economies in the OECD.
In John Howard's own words, his Government sought to "restore to Australian families a sense of confidence and optimism about their country's future; to bring within the reach of more families the prospect of good jobs, home ownership and rising living standards; and, to open up new avenues of choice for families, especially those on modest incomes".
His Government was innovative in pursuing partnerships with business and charities to create the internationally-renowned Job Network and Family Relationship Centres, and in restoring choice in the provision of health and education services. The Howard team created a social security system based on the principle of mutual obligation and introduced Work for the Dole. It sought practical responses to Aboriginal policy and established the Northern Territory Intervention.
The Government also restored confidence in our migration system, creating an orderly and generous migration program.
The Howard Government enhanced Australia's standing in the world, promoting freedom and security in nations as diverse as East Timor, Solomon Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan. It achieved closer security arrangements with the United States, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and The Philippines; concluded free trade agreements with Thailand, Singapore and the United States; and began pursuing free trade agreements with China and Japan.