We congratulate John Winston Howard on another great achievement. Coming soon after accepting the Irving Kristol award our former Prime Minister has been awarded the Winston S Churchill Medal of Freedom at a ceremony in Los Angeles.
The American Freedom Alliance, an LA-based think tank, presented Mr. Howard with the award for being "a strong ally of the United States". Asked if he were concerned Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the labor Government would erode the economic fundamentals built up during his 11 years in Australia's top job, Mr Howard replied: "I hope the new government does not in any way squander the inheritance we gave them".
He welcomed the news US President George W Bush and Congressional leaders had agreed on a $US700 billion ($845 billion) rescue plan for the shaky US financial industry. Australia, thanks largely to the policies of his government, was in a healthy position to ride out the economic turmoil in the US, he said. "Fortunately, the fundamentals of the Australian economy are very strong and those fundamentals were largely created by the former government," Mr Howard said. "The fact that we have a big surplus and have paid off our debt, that we have low unemployment, we have low inflation, we have a strong banking system, all of those things will work to our favour. "If Australia were now in debt and were running a big budget deficit, the impact of this would be much greater."
Mr Howard's wife, Janette, and son Richard accompanied him on the trip to the US.
Back in March and following his acceptance of the Irving Krystol award, John Howard launched a strong defense of his legacy, breaking his silence following last year's election loss. The former prime minister used a speech to the conservative US think tank, the American Enterprise Institute to attack his successor over his new policies including Iraq. To a standing ovation from over 1400 guests that included former United Nations ambassador John Bolton, Vice President Dick Cheney's wife Lynne, and former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, Mr Howard defended his Government’ record and personal convictions. Once again congratulations John Howard.
Click here to view the interview, "John Howard - The Long War Against Radical Islam" (25min) or click on the image above.
See also: Australia's John Howard Receives 2008 Irving Kristol award