CONFERENCE PATRON: THE HON. JOHN WINSTON HOWARD, OM, AC

The Hon John Winston Howard, OM, AC
 
served as the 25th Prime Minister of Australia from 1996 to 2007. He is the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister, behind only Sir Robert Menzies, who was in office for over 18 years. Mr Howard was leader of the Liberal Party from 1985 to 1989 and from 1995 to 2007. Being a renowned advocate of religious freedom as a fundamental right of the individual, he has called on the federal government to deal with the issue of protection of religious freedom. He believes that key threats to freedom of speech and political institutions posed by identity politics and social fragmentation have become a global phenomenon and cites the 2017 debate over same-sex marriage and the ¬≠ongoing discussion about protection of religious freedoms as a key example of a more ideological and divisive politics currently affecting national politics.