THE WAR ON TERROR
(Australian Coalition Leader)
THE WAR ON TERROR
An estimated 151,000 to 1,033,000 Iraqis died in the first three to five years of conflict.
The Official Story
(Prime Minister of Australia, 1996-2007)
John Winston Howard OM AC (born 26 July 1939) is an Australian former politician who served as the 25th Prime Minister of Australia (1996–2007) and Leader of the Liberal Party (1985–1989; 1995–2007). His nearly twelve-year tenure as Prime Minister is the second-longest in history, behind only Sir Robert Menzies, who served for eighteen non-consecutive years. He has also been the oldest living former Australian Prime Minister since the death of Bob Hawke in 2019.
Howard was born in Sydney and studied law at the University of Sydney. He was a commercial lawyer before entering parliament. A former federal president of the Young Liberals, he first stood for office at the 1968 New South Wales state election, but lost narrowly. At the 1974 federal election, Howard was elected to the Division of Bennelong, which he would go on to represent until 2007. He was promoted to cabinet in 1977, and later in the year replaced Phillip Lynch as Treasurer of Australia, remaining in that position until the defeat of Malcolm Fraser’s government in 1983.
In 1985, Howard was elected leader of the Liberal Party for the first time, thus replacing Andrew Peacock as Leader of the Opposition. He led the Liberal–National coalition to the 1987 federal election, but lost to Bob Hawke’s Labor government, and was removed from the leadership in 1989. Remaining a key figure in the party, Howard was re-elected leader in 1995 (replacing Alexander Downer), and subsequently led the Coalition to victory at the 1996 federal election.
After defeating Paul Keating’s Labor government in 1996, the Howard Government was re-elected at the 1998, 2001 and 2004 elections. Howard’s actions as prime minister included new gun laws (in response to the Port Arthur massacre), the introduction of a nationwide value-added tax, immigration reform, and industrial relations reform. Australia also contributed troops to the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War under his government, and led the International Force for East Timor. The Howard government was defeated at the 2007 federal election, with the Labor Party’s Kevin Rudd succeeding him as prime minister. Howard also lost his own seat at the election, becoming only the second prime minister to do so (after Stanley Bruce in 1929).
Prime Minister (1996–2007)
Third term, 2001–2004
Howard had first met US President George W. Bush in the days before the 11 September terrorist attacks and was in Washington the morning of the attacks. In response to the attacks, Howard invoked the ANZUS Treaty. In October 2001, he committed Australian military personnel to the War in Afghanistan despite widespread opposition. Howard developed a strong personal relationship with the President, and they shared often similar ideological positions – including on the role of the United States in world affairs and their approach to the “War on Terror”. In May 2003, Howard made an overnight stay at Bush’s Prairie Chapel Ranch in Texas, after which Bush said that Howard “…is not only a man of steel, he’s showed the world he’s a man of heart.”
In March 2003, Australia joined the US-led “Multinational force in Iraq” in sending 2,000 troops and naval units to support in the invasion of Iraq. In response to the Australian participation in the invasion, there were large protests in Australian cities during March 2003, and Prime Minister Howard was heckled from the public gallery of Parliament House. While opinion polls showed that opposition to the war without UN backing was between 48 and 92 per cent, Howard remained preferred prime-minister over the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Crean, although his approval ratings were lower compared to before the war.
A false flag is a covert operation designed to deceive; the deception creates the appearance of a particular party, group, or nation being responsible for some activity, disguising the actual source of responsibility.
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