Press "Enter" to skip to content

John Howard’s 1998 Election Night Victory Speech

Prime Minister John Howard has claimed victory in the 1998 Federal Election that has seen a large swing against his government and the loss of between 15 and 20 seats.

Howard told supporters that whilst the final result would not be clear for days, the coalition would have a “working majority in the parliament”.

  • Listen to Howard’s speech (11m)

Transcript of Prime Minister John Howard’s victory speech.

Thank you very much. And can I say to my fellow Australians that, although the final result in terms of seats will not be determined before some days yet, it is clear that the Coalition will have a working majority in the new Parliament.

I want, first and foremost, to thank the Australian people for returning the Government. I want to thank the Australian people for embracing a bold, economic reform that is in the long-term interests of the Australian community.

Some declarations about political precedence have been made tonight. Let me make a declaration about political precedence. This is probably the first time in the recent experience of western political parties that a party has successfully won an election championing such a major reform which so readily lent itself to a dishonest fear campaign. And I am immensely proud of the fact that the Coalition stuck to its guns, we stared down that fear campaign and that the Australian people came with us.

I want to commit myself and the members of my Government, once again to the service of the Australian people. I have always seen myself in public life as a servant of the Australian people. And I regard it as a privilege beyond belief to have been twice elected as Prime Minister of Australia.

We now have a mandate to implement the policies that we took to the Australian people that we so honestly and openly and candidly laid before the Australian people. We have weathered the ferocious fear campaign and we have won the mandate of the Australian people.

I want, tonight, to acknowledge with sadness the loss of a number of my colleagues who have been defeated. I want to thank them for their service to the Liberal Party and to their service to the National Party. And I know I express Tim Fischer’s gratitude of extending those sentiments and those thoughts.

I want to salute the spectacular performance of several of my colleagues and I know it’s always bad to single people out, but I’m going to do it. I want to particularly single out Trish Draper in the seat of Makin in South Australia. And in New South Wales and I want to salute the magnificent performance of Danna Vale and Jackie Kelly. But to all of my colleagues who have won in very difficult circumstances, I profess my profound gratitude.

I also want to thank the Liberal Party organisation. I want to thank Tony Staley the Federal President and Lynton Crosby, the Federal Director, and also may I extend my thanks to the various state organisations for the work they did in bringing about this magnificent result. We are here tonight victorious because of superb organisation in the seats that really mattered and superb cooperation between the Parliamentary Party and the organisation.

I want to salute Tim Fischer, the Leader of the National Party. Tim is a great colleague and a wonderful friend. And he faced a very vicious challenge in his own seat and he beat that off in magnificent style.

I also extend my gratitude to Peter Costello, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party who has been a great Treasurer and a great colleague to work with. And can I also particularly thank the Premier of Victoria, Jeff Kennett. Jeff has been a forthright supporter of the cause of taxation reform and I acknowledge the contribution that he made during my election campaign.

And I say to all of my fellow Australians, that the government that you have elected tonight will lead this country into the 21st century. The government you have elected tonight will be a government for all Australians. The government you have elected tonight will dedicate itself to the welfare of all of the Australian people. I have said on other occasions that this country has unparalleled assets. No nation on earth so uniquely combines the heritage of our western civilisation, our great links with the nations of North America and our placement here in the Asia Pacific region. And we have a capacity and an opportunity to use that conjunction of circumstances to our benefit and to the benefit of the region and to the benefit of the entire world.

I want to dedicate my government to the maintenance of traditional Australian values. And they include those great values of mateship and egalitarianism. They also mean that great Australian value of tolerance and of treating people decently and of not discriminating against people according to their race or ethnic background. We are a nation of many parts and many origins. And we should never forget that. And we should see that as a tremendous asset. And I also want to commit myself very genuinely to the cause of true reconciliation with the Aboriginal people of Australia by the centenary of Federation. We may differ and debate about the best way of achieving reconciliation, but I think all Australians are united in a determination to achieve it.

Finally, ladies and gentlemen, I want to express my gratitude to two very special groups of people in my life. I want to thank my magnificent personal staff in particular, my Chief of Staff, Arthur Sinodinos. Through all the ups and downs in the last two-and-a-half years, Arthur and my personal staff have sustained me and kept me sane when the alternative seemed very likely. And I thank him and I thank all those around him very, very much for what they have done.

And finally, can I express my love and gratitude to my magnificent family. Thank you. No father could be prouder than I am of my three children. And I just want to say to Janette and to Melanie and to Tim and Richard, I love you very deeply and I thank you for everything that you’ve done for me.

And finally, to all of you wonderful people, you wonderful members and supporters of our wonderful Party, the Liberal Party of Australia, tonight belongs to you as much as it does to me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the loyalty that you’ve given me over the last two-and-a-half years and let’s work together to build another great victory in three years time.

Thank you.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Malcolm Farnsworth
© 1995-2024