September 1 marks 70 years since the ANZUS Treaty was signed in San Francisco in 1951, the first major international treaty Australia entered independent of the British government.

Today, the alliance between Australia and the United States — and the deep, long-standing channels of trust and cooperation it has fostered — is being tasked with more issues and with more urgency than at any point in its 70-year history.

Both John Howard and Julia Gillard presided over critical phases of change in the Alliance, around 9/11 and its aftermath for Howard and the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia” for Gillard. How did each leader view the Alliance given the geo-strategic and security challenges they faced? How can their experiences of “Alliance evolution” inform the policy choices we face today? 

The United States Studies Centre hosted a special event featuring a discussion between former Prime Ministers Julia Gillard AC and John Howard OM AC moderated by Dennis Richardson AC who previously served as Secretary to the Department of Defence, Secretary to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Ambassador to the United States. Prime Minister Scott Morrison MP, Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese MP and Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian MP also provided remarks.