This article identifies the specific concept of “nation” that informed John Howard's politics from his time as Liberal Party leader in the second half of the 1980s to the final years of his 1996–2007 prime ministership. It compares and contrasts the constitutive, procedural and multicultural models of nation to show Howard's continuing commitment to a constitutive understanding of the Australian nation. He endeavoured to give this understanding expression at the policy level by explicitly moving against the multicultural concept of nation that had informed Australian policy from the late 1970s. The Citizenship Test, introduced in his final year of office, is presented as the final move in this departure from multiculturalism.
Australian Journal of Politics and History Vol. 55, Issue 1, p. 97-120