Dear (colleagues)

In
recent weeks I have taken a variety of soundings within the
parliamentary party to ascertain its feelings on the leadership issue.

My
position has been that I would remain leader of the Liberal Party for
so long as that was the party’s wish, and that it was in the party’s
best interests that I did so.

My soundings tell me that the
strong view of the party is that the current leadership team, with me
as leader and Peter Costello as deputy leader, should remain in place
through to the next election.

My purpose in writing is to inform
you, in advance of a public announcement, that I will commit to leading
the party to the next election.

I remain enthusiastic and keen
to ensure that the Coalition achieves a fifth electoral victory. I
spoke to Peter Costello yesterday to advise him of my feelings.

Leadership
of the party is a great honour, of which I remain profoundly conscious.
It is, moreover, the unique gift of the party room.

Just as
the party now wants me to continue as leader I accept that it has a
perfect right to change its mind if it judges that to be to the party’s
benefit. If that were to occur, I would not ignore the party’s shift in
sentiment.

Please believe me when I say that the next election
will be hard to win. We must, therefore, go to it with our best people
in the right places.

A crucial element will be Peter
Costello’s contribution, not only as deputy leader but also as
Treasurer, where his work over the past decade has been so important to
our success.

I have thought it desirable to resolve my
position regarding the leadership in advance of parliament resuming on
the 8th August. Hence this letter. I will make a statement on my
intentions later today.

I look forward to seeing you at the
already foreshadowed special joint party meeting on the afternoon of 7
August to discuss future policy directions.

Yours sincerely

[John Howard]

Peter Fray

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