Janette Howard

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Janette Howard
JanetteHoward.JPG
Born Janette Parker
(1944-07-11) 11 July 1944 (age 70)
Kingsford, New South Wales
Residence Wollstonecraft, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Alma mater University of New South Wales
University of Sydney
Occupation Teacher
Political party
Liberal Party of Australia
Religion Christianity
Spouse(s) John Howard (m.1971–present)
Children Melanie, Tim and Richard Howard

Janette Howard (born 11 July 1944) is the wife of John Howard, who was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007 and the second longest serving Australian Prime Minister.

Early life, education, and personal life[edit]

Janette Parker was born in the suburb of Kingsford, Sydney in 1944. Her father was an engineer with the New South Wales railways. The family later moved to Vaucluse. She was educated at Sydney Girls High School and trained as a teacher.

She joined the Liberal Party, and met John Howard at a Liberal Party function. They were married on 4 April 1971, at St Peter's Anglican Church in Watsons Bay.

The Howards have three children, Melanie (born 1974, married Rowan McDonald in 2003), Tim (born 1977, married Sarah Mackintosh in 2010) and Richard (born 1980). A grandson Angus was born in 2007.

Janette Howard adopted a relatively low profile during her husband's tenure as Prime Minister; however, in 1999, a journalist alleged that she had intervened with the Prime Minister concerning an appointment to the board of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Janette issued a rare public statement denying the allegation as "not only wrong but deeply offensive to me".[1]

In 1996, Janette Howard was diagnosed with cervical cancer and underwent surgery; the type of cancer she had was not revealed to the public until 2006.[2] John Howard said at the time that he would leave politics immediately if it seemed necessary in the interests of his wife's health. Since then Janette has been active in advocating early screening for breast cancer for Australian women.[3]

Janette Howard's public duties included accompanying the Prime Minister on official tours and carrying out the duties of official host at the Prime Minister's official residences, The Lodge in Canberra and Kirribilli House in Sydney. She is also a patron of the National Portrait Gallery.

Political views[edit]

Janette Howard was always seen at the Prime Minister's side during election campaigns. According to John Howard's biographer Pru Goward, Janette "lives and breathes" politics. She also devoted time to "nursing" John Howard's electorate of Bennelong, which although a Liberal seat since its creation in 1949, gradually became less Liberal and culminated in the defeat of John Howard at the Australian 2007 election by Maxine McKew who was subsequently defeated at the 2010 election by the Liberal candidate John Alexander.

Although she rarely made any public comment on political issues, she did break this pattern by deciding to speak out against Kevin Rudd during the 2007 election campaign.[4]

References[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Annita van Iersel
Spouse of the Prime Minister of Australia
11 March 1996-3 December 2007
Succeeded by
Thérèse Rein