John HowardJohn Winston Howard, (born 26 July 1939) is an Australian former politician who served as the 25th Prime Minister of Australia from 1996 to 2007. He is the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister, behind only Sir Robert Menzies, who was in office for over 18 years. Howard was leader of the Liberal Party from 1985 to 1989 and from 1995 to 2007.
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). Provided by Wikipedia