Date: May 30 2012
Regrets, he's had a few, but former Australian prime minister John Howard has told a British audience he is generally happy with his performance in the top job.
Accompanied by wife Janette, but without his trademark spectacles, the 72-year-old admitted, "I'm a little bit deaf" as he took questions from a keen gathering at Britain's Oxford Union on Tuesday.
"When I look back I think that most of the things I wanted to do, I got done," Mr Howard told a crowd of more than 150, many of whom were Australians studying at Oxford University.
"Obviously if I had my time again I might have got rid of the no disadvantages test in Work Choices. There were some individual things like that."
However, Mr Howard denied that his workplace reform was responsible for his demise at the polls in 2007.
"Many people say that the reason we lost the 2007 election was Work Choices. I don't share that view. I think the reason we lost in 2007 was that people just wanted a change, and that happens in society."
Addressing an audience of which a majority had not reached voting age during his time in office, Mr Howard received standing applause on his entry to the Union's chapel.
Following a brief introduction, Mr Howard answered questions on his time in office; Australia's diplomatic relations; Australia's involvement in Iraq; the future of the Euro currency; asylum seekers and Australia's indigenous population.
As he left, audience members surged towards Mr Howard, wanting a photo with the one-time prime minister.
"Independent of your political feelings it is commonly understood that John Howard was a long serving and very significant person in Australian politics," Oxford University Australia New Zealand Society president David Llewellyn said by way of justifying the large attendance at Tuesday's address.
"I was hoping there would be a bit more fire in the questions, not to see him sweat, but he's definitely had a career of answering tough questions and I was hoping to see that in action."
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