Janette Howard
Spouse of the Prime Minister of Australia
In office
11 March 1996 – 3 December 2007
Preceded byAnnita Keating
Succeeded byThérèse Rein
Personal details
Alison Janette Parker

(1944-08-11) 11 August 1944 (age 77)
Kingsford, New South Wales, Australia
Political partyLiberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s)John Howard (m. 1971)
ResidenceWollstonecraft, New South Wales
Alma materUniversity of New South Wales
University of Sydney

Janette Howard (née Parker; born 11 August 1944) is the wife of John Howard, who was the 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

Janette Howard with her husband John Howard in the Australian Team uniform during the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games. The Howards attended several days of competition during the Games.
Janette Howard with her husband John Howard in the Australian Team uniform during the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games. The Howards attended several days of competition during the Games.

Alison Janette Parker[1] 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, graduating from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Arts.[2]

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), Timothy[2] (married Sarah Mackintosh in 2010) and Richard;[2] as well as three grandchildren, Angus (born 2007), Alexander (born 2012), and Ariah (born 2015).[citation needed]

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".[3]

In 1996, Janette Howard was diagnosed with cervical cancer and underwent surgery; the type of cancer was not revealed to the public until 2006.[4] 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.[5]

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

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 2007 election by the Labor Party's Maxine McKew (the seat returned to Liberal hands at the 2010 election when McKew was defeated by 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.[6]


  1. ^ "The boy who would be PM". The Age. 21 July 2007. Archived from the original on 10 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Offner, Steve (21 June 2013). "UNSW honours former PM John Howard" (Press release). UNSW Sydney. Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  3. ^ Howard, Janette (8 August 1999). "Statement by Mrs Janette Howard" (Press release). Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 16 May 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Janette Howard reveals cancer details". News.com.au. Australian Associated Press. 16 October 2006. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  5. ^ Mrs Janette Howard sends message to Australian Women – NBCC Archived 26 September 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Janette plays second fiddle, with gusto". The Age. 11 November 2007. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008.
Honorary titles Preceded byAnnita van Iersel Spouse of the Prime Minister of Australia 1996 –2007 Succeeded byThérèse Rein