The Hon John Winston Howard is the 25th person to have occupied the office of Prime Minister of Australia since Federation. He served his country as Prime Minister for almost 12 years, between March 1996 and December 2007.
Mr Howard came to office as Prime Minister with extensive senior experience in both government and opposition. He was appointed Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs in 1975 at the age of 36 and subsequently served as Minister for Special Trade Negotiations and as Treasurer of the Commonwealth for over five years.
In September 1985 Mr Howard, as Deputy Leader, was elected by his colleagues as Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party and, therefore, Leader of the Opposition. He held this post until May 1989. He was returned to the leadership by unanimous vote of his colleagues on 30 January 1995. In the interim period between holding the leadership he served as Coalition spokesman for a number of senior portfolios.
Mr Howard was born in Sydney on 26 July 1939, attending school at Earlwood Primary and Canterbury Boys' High. He went on to the University of Sydney, graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1961 and was admitted as a Solicitor of the NSW Supreme Court in July 1962. Mr Howard represented the Federal seat of Bennelong in the North-Western suburbs of Sydney and was returned to the Parliament from this marginal seat at every Federal election from 1974 to 2007. Prior to his election to Parliament he was a partner in a Sydney firm of solicitors.
The former Prime Minister has been active with the Liberal Party since the age of 18 when he joined the Young Liberal Movement and participated in student politics at university.
In addition to his life-long commitment to public service and the Liberal Party, Mr Howard is a keen follower of sport - particularly cricket. He enjoys playing tennis and golf and follows the St George Rugby League football team.
Mr Howard married his wife Janette, a teacher by profession, on 4 April 1971. They have three children, Melanie, Tim and Richard.