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Posted: 21 May 2006

Australian Prime Minister, John Howard attends Q&A session in UCD

The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard visited UCD on the 22 May to address a group of postgraduate students studying International Relations, Politics, History and Australian Studies.

Following his address, he engaged in a Q&A session with the students. The topics covered by the Q&A session included the handling of the stand-off with Iran over its nuclear programme, the penetration of the Australian economy by China and Euroasia, the treatment of gay marriage in Australian law and issues surrounding indigenous Australian peoples.

(Link to RTE TV news)

Australian Prime Minister John Howard at UCD
Australian Prime Minister John Howard addressing postgraduate students at UCD

After the Q&A session, Mr Howard was presented with an Honorary Fellowship of UCD’s Literary & Historical Society in recognition of his enthusiastic engagement with students and his widespread achievements as Prime Minister. The L&H is UCD’s oldest student society (founded in 1854). The Fellowship is the highest honour that the society can bestow.

Dr Hugh Brady, President, UCD; Australian Prime Minister, John Howard; and Ross McGuire, Auditor, 152nd Session, UCD Literary & Historical Society.
Pictured (left-right): Dr Hugh Brady, President, UCD; Australian Prime Minister, John Howard; and Ross McGuire, Auditor, 152nd Session, UCD Literary & Historical Society.

Australian history has been taught at UCD since 1972 and the University maintains one of the longest-running programs for Australian history in the world. During his visit to UCD, Prime Minister Howard announced that the Australian Government would provide funding of $1.5 million Australian dollars to support the continuation of the Keith Cameron Chair of
Australian History at UCD

Prime Minister Howard’s visit to UCD is part of an official visit to Ireland during which he will meet with An Taoiseach at Government Buildings, the Minister for Foreign Affairs at Iveagh House, and the President of Ireland Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin. The Prime Minister will also address the Dáil.

John Howard came to power in 1996 after defeating the Labor government of Paul Keating. He has won three subsequent elections and is regarded as one of the world's most adept political leaders. He faces another election next year and is widely expected to be returned to power.

The conservative leader has been a close ally of Britain and the US in the Iraq War. John Howard has described Tony Blair as 'a man of courage and moral purpose' and Blair reciprocates the respect and affection. On 27 March this year, Blair became the first British prime minister to address the Australian parliament.

Howard was in Washington visiting George Bush on September 11, 2001 and was undoubtedly influenced by the American reaction to the terrorist attacks. Australia has subsequently supported the Bush administration in the war against terror. In March 2003, Australia provided military support to the UK and the US in the invasion of Iraq which led to the removal of Saddam Hussein. Australia's military commitment was increased in Feb. 2005.

In his first governments, Howard stressed tight fiscal policy and a middle of the road social agenda. Arguing that he was listening to the voice of mainstream Australia, Howard has backed away from policies associated with the Keating regime including engagement with Asia, republicanism, multiculturalism and Aboriginal reconciliation.

In 2001, he initiated a new policy of 'border protection' directed against people smugglers operating in Australia's northern waters including the compulsory detention of asylum seekers.

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