The Howard Government is today celebrating the 11th anniversary of its 1996 election.
The Liberal-National coalition defeated the Keating Labor government at the federal elections held on March 2, 1996. Its longevity makes it the third longest-serving government in Australia’s federal political history. The coalition ruled for 23 years from December 1949 until December 1972, sixteen of those years with Sir Robert Menzies as prime minister. The ALP ruled for 13 years from March 1983, with Bob Hawke as prime minister until December 1991 and with Keating thereafter. Howard is now the second longest-serving prime minister after Menzies.
Howard’s 11th anniversary as prime minister will occur on March 11, 2007.
This is the text of a media release from the Liberal Party.
Coalition Government: Eleven Years of Achievement
Today marks the eleventh anniversary of the election of the Coalition Government.
Australia today is a more prosperous, optimistic and outward-looking nation than it was on March 2, 1996. We are more confident about who we are and what we stand for.
Since the election of the Coalition Government, the Australian economy has grown by 40 per cent into a $1 trillion powerhouse, a model economy and the envy of the developed world.
The attached figures show how Australia has progressed over the past 11 years and underlines the improvement in the quality of life of Australian families.
Australians are reaping the benefits of the Coalition’s economic management, with official figures revealing since 1996 Australians:
- doubled household net wealth.
- pay $16 billion a year less tax;
- outlay five per cent less on average in mortgage interest rates;
- have seen their real wages increase by 17.9 per cent, compared to a fall in real wages under Labor; and
- enjoy far greater opportunities to find a job, with more than two million jobs created.
My Government has also introduced major social reforms, including strengthening of the health system through the support for Medicare and private health insurance, entrenching the principle of mutual responsibility through such programs as Work-for-the-Dole and beneficial changes to family law through the introduction of Family Relationship Centres.
The Government’s economic management and reforms and the commitment and effort of Australian workers has delivered a national economy in far better shape than in 1996:
- government net debt has been eliminated;
- Australia’s inflation rate has been halved;
- Australia has restored its AAA credit rating – downgraded twice under Labor.
Since 1996 we have made giant advances for Australian society but there is more work to be done.
We face great challenges in national security, conserving our precious water resources, dealing with climate change, raising our education standards and addressing the ageing of our society.
Ensuring that Australia has a strong, stable and growing economy will remain this Government’s principal priority.
There is no guarantee the remarkable growth enjoyed by Australia will continue without the right economic policies and judgement. In fact we are entering a more difficult phase of economic management compared with the recent past.
Only the Coalition Government has a plan to meet these challenges and continue the prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past 11 years.
$2 215 billion
$5 439 billion
Average mortgage rate
8.2% (March 1996)
4.5% (January 2007)
Long term unemployed
197 800 (March 1996)
77 600 (January 2007)
Real Wages Growth
-1.7% (Mar ‘83- Mar ’96)
17.9% (Mar ‘96-Sep ’06)
22.3% GDP (1995-96)
20.7% GDP (2006-07)
Middle tax bracket
34% – up to $38 000
30% – up to $75 000
Top tax bracket
47% – $50 001+
45% – $150 001+
Net government debt
$95.8 billion (1995-96)
Net debt eliminated
Defence force funding
$10.6 billion (1995-96)
$20 billion (2006-07)
Health care for veterans
$1.6 billion (1995-96)
$4.7 billion (2006-07)
$20 billion (1995-96)
$47.6 billion (2006-07)
Funding for science and
$3.8 billion (1995-96)
$6 billion (2006-07)
Downgraded twice to AA
Upgraded twice to AAA