John Howard has a message for Aussies – but do you agree? 35



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John Howard served as our Prime Minister for eleven years, and now he’s back with a controversial message for everyday Australians.

Our former PM reckons Australians are too “frightened” to express their honest opinions, about everything from gay marriage to abuse within the Catholic church.

“You should be able to express a view on these things”, Mr Howard told The Australian today. Adding that we are often “cowed” into silencing our true feelings.

“There is a sense in which people are so frightened of being accused of being discriminatory or intolerant that they don’t speak the common-sense view”.

John Howard drew some controversial comparisons though. He said there was a “get Pell” mentality in relation to Catholic church abuse allegations.

“It seems as if Cardinal Pell is being singled out to take the rap for the misdeeds of a whole lot of people”, Mr Howard said.

In terms of gay marriage, Mr Howard said “there is nothing homophobic about supporting traditional marriage. Everybody did in the parliament in 2004”.

“May I remind you that in 2004, when I inserted the definition in the Marriage Act, the Labor Party supported it”, Mr Howard said. (Although parliamentary views about gay marriage are more varied today.) 

“I think people are cowed because they think, ‘I can’t say that because I might lose votes or I might offend somebody’.”

Mr Howard has also expressed frustration at what he sees as growing political correctness throughout Australia.

“From now on you can sing Jingle Bells in schools but not Once in Royal David’s City or Silent Night“, the former PM said about new education rules.

“This is pernicious”, Mr Howard said. “I’m surprised there hasn’t been a greater outcry about it. Nobody is forced to believe in God”.

“Nobody’s forced to follow Christianity. The observance of Christmas and all that goes with it is part of our culture”.

“I must say I have never come across a person of the Jewish faith or of the Muslim faith who has complained that they have had Christianity forced upon them”, Mr Howard said.

The now 76-year-old added that Australians today have “almost a fear” of expressing ideas in case they “offend our multicultural views” or get “branded as intolerant”.

That’s not to say John Howard supports extreme right-wing views, like Donald Trump’s election platform in the USA.

Mr Howard said he “would tremble at the idea of Trump being President of the US”, but added the Republican’s popularity shows “a measure of how people feel” in America.

Regardless of the topic, Mr Howard seems to support the notion of a healthy debate. “You ought to be able to have sensible discussion on these sorts of things”, he said.

“I think the problem is that too few people are prepared to call (any topic out) for what it is”, the former PM added.

Do you agree with John Howard’s controversial remarks today? Or do you think his views on gay marriage, Catholic church abuse or multiculturalism reflect years gone by?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Quite often when some one in the public eye voices an opinion the media labels it “controversial”. Why is this? I believe that John Howard has made a very good point. His comment reflects the view of many yet will no doubt draw much criticism from others.

    3 REPLY
    • I agree with what John Howard says. ..people are holding back from saying what they really feel because they are criticized for being racist and intolerant. …i think you should be able to express how you feel about certain things without being slandered with a non caring attitude. The Politicians are supposed to be leading our country. they especially should say what we all feel ….like Pauline Hanson does and look where it got her…

    • I agree with what John Howard says. ..people are holding back from saying what they really feel because they are criticized for being racist and intolerant. …i think you should be able to express how you feel about certain things without being slandered with a non caring attitude. The Politicians are supposed to be leading our country. they especially should say what we all feel ….like Pauline Hanson does and look where it got her…

    • Yes. We should be able to discuss anything BUT not denigrate people who don’t agree with you or take us back too far into past. We must grow and look forward. Also we should be able to vote on things like same sex marriage, abortion & assisted dying. No pushing religion on anyone who does not believe.

  2. I agree with John Howard’s comments. You should be able to express an opinion without other people jumping down your throat. This is a similar situation as happens on this Facebook page. As long as you are not rude to people & give personal criticisms then you should be able to make comments on all subjects.

  3. I agree with his comments the political parties need to take a good look at there policies and work to implement them and stop hiding we vote you in because you have policy and ideals well get on with it and implement them if we have to borrow borrow but dont spend one cent of borrowed money offshore it must create jobs in australia we will get out of debt eventually .be positive, i notice a lot abondoning ship before the next election would tha5 be because they have s e ved their ten years and leave on a pension commensurate with their salary.

  4. I agree you should be able to have sensible discussion on any subject. Also it is time the media started reporting accordingly without bias but it is now impossible to get news that is trust worthy in his country and it will be worse when all media is owned by a few companies. And the abc weakened by political interference.

  5. Yes totally agree and I wish he was still running this country. Sick to death of the political correctness and all the crap that goes with it.

    2 REPLY
  6. I agree with what Mr Howard is saying and I believe we are losing our identity as a nation by watering down and removing all that we stand for and believe. We choose to live in this country and by doing so we accept the laws and customs there in. Why do we have to change all that we hold dear because a few ( who choose to live here) don’t like our laws and customs, if they don’t like our way of life they should find a counrty whos customs and why of life they do like.

  7. I totally agree with Mr Howard. It feels as if Australians have been forced into silence because they are afraid of being labelled. In my opinion the media has certainly played there part in making people feel they are discriminating against so many subjects which should be voiced freely without fear. Can I please sight an interview given on a morning show very recently where a Muslim woman was interviewed about abuse she had received because of who she was. My question then & now is why not be fair & interview an Australian or two who have also received abuse or harassment from a person of the Muslim faith. This type of thing is so wrong & totally one sided.

  8. Australian’s have a culture that is unique and I as an Australian myself, I never want to see it changed – As for Gay people, well it has always been here, but now it is more out in the open and they want the right to get married, well if they can have their relationships out in the open then why not leave it at that. If Gay people are allowed to get Married the next thing they will want is the right to Adopt babies / young kids, that I don’t agree with.
    As for Child abuse I say charge the guilty person with that crime, the same as anyone else will be, weather they are involved with Religion or not.

    1 REPLY
    • Interesting how you referred to gay people as if we were another species altogether…Ever think that the man or woman who attends a police, ambo or firie call-out just might be gay?! Same goes for your doctor, dentist, airline pilot, or the bloke down the pub whom you’ve known for years, or even a member of your family…..Think about it!

  9. I very much agree with John Howard. It has always been a case of the “silent majority” and the “vociferous minority”. Sensible debate and discussion is always welcome about any subject.

    1 REPLY
    • political correctness at its worst is the norm these days, then there is the death of common sense. All this B S over “it might offend someone” what ever happened to our values, plus I pity the kookaburras in the old gum tree, seem they can’t be gay any more.

  10. What a breath of fresh air and a voice for commonsense this man is. I wish we had a statesman of his calibre to run the country now !!

    1 REPLY
  11. I think that apathy is much more of a problem for Australia. No one feels afraid or bullied to express a view on matters of concern to them or their community. They just cannot be bothered to enter into any community debate. One reason – politicians simply will not listen to any opinion they do not want to hear.

    Howard introduced work choices when he got an unexpected Senate majority. Thousands said it would lead to savage cuts to workplace conditions. It did. He then back-flipped on the no disadvantage provision, but it was too late. He lost his seat in Parliament.

    1 REPLY
    • from where I was standing it looked like he did a “god willing” and we all know what happened to Gough Whitlam.

  12. Yes he is right, we are now expected to tolerate the intolerant. Not profess a view that traditional marriage is good for children, even if you do support Gay marriage and equal rights for the Gay and Lesbian transgender etc community..

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