Opinion

John Howard Is Right, We Are So Lucky To Have Been Colonised By The Brits

John Howard close up on eyebrows

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Ring the bell! John Howard has nailed it once again folks. Yep, good ol’ Johnny Boy’s completely captured the truth of this nation’s history by bravely admitting that colonisation by the British was the “luckiest thing” to happen to Australia. Totally accurate, totally cool, and totally normal thing to say. Thanks John!

Here’s what he said, according to the BBC: “I do hold the view that the luckiest thing that happened to this country was being colonised by the British. Not that they were perfect by any means, but they were infinitely more successful and beneficent colonisers than other European countries.”

As an Indigenous person, I can’t help but agree with John Howard because, yes, my people have obviously been the luckiest people alive. I’m so lucky that my great-grandfather was put into a boys’ home when he was eight years old, that his birth certificate was altered and a racist term was written over his father’s name. I can’t begin to imagine how lucky my great-grandfather felt when he was arrested only to then be sold to work against his will. I’m sure he felt so lucky that he never saw his family again. There’s no generational trauma at all. How lucky am I? 

Anyone who is Indigenous understands how lucky we are to be living in this failed colony. How lucky we are to have some of the highest proportional incarceration rates in the world. And our luck only appears to be getting better because as of last year our rates of incarceration have more than doubled since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody report came out 30 years ago. The same Royal Commission that’s seen 547 (and counting) deaths in custody since. 

John’s right. We’re so lucky that our people were massacred by colonial police and government forces during the Frontier Wars. We’re so lucky that, during that period, “Aboriginal deaths are estimated to be 27 to 33 times higher than coloniser deaths,” according to The Guardian. Also? “Between 11,000 and 14,000 Aboriginal people died, compared with only 399 to 440 colonisers.” How lucky. 

We can’t forget how lucky us First Nations people are in being the oldest living culture in the world and having to fight tirelessly against an oppressive government just to take back the land that was stolen from us. The very same land with our deeply sacred sites that gets blown up by mining companies and is threatened with fracking by energy corporations. 

And it’s not just colonisation that has us feeling lucky. We’re also extremely lucky to have you. John Howard.

Helping to bring gun control to Australia was nice, but we’re especially lucky that you took us to war with Iraq to strengthen your relationship with the US, that you implemented offshore detention of asylum seekers, and that you created the Border Protection Bill to allow the government to order ships to leave Australian waters and helped start this country’s border obsession.

We’re lucky you don’t think racism is a problem in Australia. We’re lucky you seemingly don’t think female ejaculation is a real thing. 

The best part about all of this is that even though you left office in 2007, you keep getting wheeled out by the liberal party to make nonsensical remarks about our history and the current state of politics. So we get to feel lucky over and over again.

Aren’t we just the luckiest nation because we had you, John?


This is an opinion piece written by Junkee writer and proud Kamilaroi and Dharug person Ky Stewart. Follow them on X.

Editor’s Note: This piece has since been updated to include John Howard’s full quote.

Image credit: AAP Image