John Howard reveals the most difficult decision he made as PM… 118



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John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia from 1996 to 2007 – quite a long time. And during this time, he made a number of incredibly important decisions. Some of which, we agreed with, others most of Australia didn’t. But either way, it’s incredibly honourable to have had such great responsibility for such a long time.

This week, while speaking about leadership at the Sydney Writers’ Festival while promoting his new book, The Menzies Era, he revealed what was the most difficult decision he ever made.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Fairfax Media business writer Adele Ferguson asked him about the challenges of leadership with the former prime minister nominating the commitment of troops to the Middle East.

He replied, “The hardest thing is to send young men and women to war, absolutely,”

He also acknowledged that his role as Prime Minister was lonely at times, although he never felt disengaged from the Australian public.

He then shared some insights on leadership that he has learnt over the years. He said, “Some people are born leaders; some people are born believing they are leaders and they often don’t make it.”

“You have to get the big things right,” he said. “But people who think they will never make mistakes are deluding themselves.”

So tell us today, do you remember how you felt when John Howard made this massive decision in Australians political history? Do you believe it was his most controversial decision? 

Starts at 60 Writers

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

  1. Guilty

    4 REPLY
    • And wasted 3 billion on invading another country on another continent for what? To look great in George Bush’s eyes. Result apart from dead and wounded Australians – a massive refugee problem. Wish we had that 3 billion now.

      1 REPLY
      • Leon O’Sullivan, I wish we still had the 350 plus billion that Labor wasted while in government. Your 3 billion pales into insignificance and the illegal ‘refugee’ or country shoppers who threw their identities overboard were obviously not mainly genuine as they passed several countries to get to Australia. Why?

  2. one thing my parents always taught me…voting is not a popularity contest…it’s not about the person or persona…it is about the politics….and if he is delivering what is important to you…at this point in your life…then you have to go with that…he did make some very hard decisions…not many of the popular…but he wasn’t a bad PM

  3. Guilty of what, things have to be done and no soldier will ever say no to their country asking them to help out in situations like this. They are the proudest people that you will ever find.

  4. The war was wrong it has involved us in all terrorist problems now but in saying that Abbott makes Howard look like Mother Theresa. Howard would never have attacked the pensioners, he had too much intelligence

    3 REPLY
    • Dont tell my neighbour how good Howard was she only got a $2 increase in her pension when he was in. If he had any intelligence he would not have followed the USA and Brits into war

    • Not intelligence, more like cunning. Howard knew a lot of his support came from the baby boomers

  5. Best PM we have had.

    16 REPLY
    • ^ wanker expert. Of course the fact that there are 40 dead men on his conscience. Sent to die for nothing, on a lie! Well done Rose Mary. We are back there again! While Little Johnny and his family buy up half of Sydney’s elite housing. Hope the images of the men haunt him to his grave!

    • Rosemary Jenkins, Howard sold off everything that wasn’t nailed down to get that surplus. That’s why government revenue is down. Howard was a short sighted dickhead

    • Howard left $39.9 billion in debt when he was treasurer for Fraser.
      He sold $72 billion of our assets, if he hadn’t sold every asset we had, he would have left a $39 billion deficit to Labor.
      He ignored infrastructure, gave baby bonus and middle class welfare that is causing trouble to the budgets today.
      John Howard was the top spending ex-PM with $319,000 in expenses over 2012-13.
      $450,000 office refit in 2008/09 to his swanky digs in Sydney’s MLC building, which already costs nearly $14,000 a month to rent.

    • Cathy Garvie
      No use hitting the LNP faithful with facts. They totally ignore facts.
      But you are right.

    • Lovely collection of irrelevant information Cathy. The Laba Pardy Media Office has been busy again. Howard left a massive surplus for all Australians and saw that ALL Australians shared in the wealth. Laba wasted it within 2 years in office. DISGRACEFUL.

  6. Do I remember how I felt when John Howard made this massive decision in Australians political history? You bet I do. I thought “You warmongering Liberal arse hole.

  7. The most respected overseas PM and the best we have had . An intelligent and decent man!!

    7 REPLY

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