On Tuesday night, former Prime Minister John Howard presented his views to a “good crowd” at the John F Kennedy Jr Forum at Harvard University.

With Janette in attendance, the shiny and chuffed ex PM spoke on the subject of “The United States and China: Partners of a Different Kind”. Video can be found here, mp3 here. Note how, terrier with a bone, he still manages to get in an early dig at Greens leader Bob Brown.

In response to the question of how he would he approach the 2007 election differently (if he knew then what he knows now), Howard replies that he’s “not going to give an instant retrospective”, before avoiding an answer. The politics is still strong in him.

What did the student body make of his lecture? Responses were mixed, writes Mark Hoadley at The Harvard Crimson:

[Howard] defended Australian nuclear policy, saying that Australia was “keen to supply uranium to China” and that adequate safeguards exist to guarantee that any fissile material China purchased would be for “non-military use.”

The defense came in response to a question from Mitchell L. Dong ’75, who suggested such a policy was “hypocritical” given the country’s lack of support for a domestic nuclear power industry…

Students said they had mixed impressions of Howard. Several audience members said that Howard appeared to measure his responses carefully when answering listeners’ questions.

Australian Alexander M. Wheen ’11 said that Howard “was a fantastic PM” and that Howard’s governance spurred “a long period of solid economic prosperity.”

New Zealander Belinda R. J. O’Donnell ’11 was more skeptical, questioning Howard’s presentation of nuclear policy and calling him “evasive” on questions about an apology to indigenous Australians.

Howard’s Harvard visit continues.

In an aside, we note The Harvard Crimson is across an interesting range of Australian topics, including that Walkleys bust-up. Bede A Moore wrote on 19 December 2006:

At the very least, 2006 managed to end on an amusing note as a couple of tired and emotional journalists fought to personify the industry’s most ubiquitous trait: self-importance. “Fought,” because that’s exactly what the two of them did … The black tie affair came to an unexpected climax as former Murdoch journo, Stephen Mayne, concluded announcing the winner of the “Best Business Report.” Mayne, lately the founder of the popular political (read: rumor-filled) website, “Crikey!,” was still standing on the platform when a member of the audience bounded onto the stage and began yelling at him.

Peter Fray

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