Former prime minister John Howard went to the aid of a woman after he saw a couple allegedly clashing. Picture: Tim Hunter
Former prime minister John Howard went to the aid of a woman after he saw a couple allegedly clashing. Picture: Tim Hunter

John Howard stops domestic violence attack on Sydney street

Former prime minister John Howard personally intervened to stop a domestic violence incident after stumbling across a couple fighting in the street.

Mr Howard, 79, was on his daily walk near his home in Wollstonecraft about 7.45am on Wednesday when he saw the clash.

It is understood a man was attempting to put something in a bin, triggering a row with a woman that allegedly escalated into physical violence.

A Liberal source said Mr Howard called out "Hey" in a bid to stop the fight, before standing with the woman until police arrived.

Former prime minister John Howard went to the aid of a woman after he saw a couple allegedly clashing. Picture: Tim Hunter
Former prime minister John Howard went to the aid of a woman after he saw a couple allegedly clashing. Picture: Tim Hunter

The former Liberal leader, who celebrates his 80th birthday in July, is understood to be assisting officers from North Shore Police Area Command with their inquiries and has provided them with a statement.

Officers said Mr Howard had assisted at the scene but was "not involved" in the fracas.

He is now being hailed as a hero after news of the incident did the rounds of the Liberal Party faithful.

"He took on the Taliban in his 60s and now he's taking on domestic violence at almost 80," a Liberal source said.

"He not only stopped the fight, but he stood with the woman until help arrived. Others would have turned a blind eye."

He is now being hailed as a hero. Picture: Gary Ramage
He is now being hailed as a hero. Picture: Gary Ramage

Mr Howard, who was back walking the streets in his cricket jumper on Friday morning, declined to comment on the scuffle, but confirmed there had been "an incident".

A 44-year-old woman has been charged with breaching an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order and granted conditional bail to appear at Manly Local Court on Tuesday.

The man, aged 47, was taken to hospital as a mental health precaution.

"Police hope to speak with the man once he is deemed well enough," police said.

Mr Howard also has a political track record for intervention to stop domestic violence. As Prime Minister in 1997, he set up a Commonwealth program called Partnerships Against Domestic Violence, pledging $50 million for research and resources over a six-year period.

Since leaving office in 2007, Mr Howard has remained politically active, recently offering solace to "understandably depressed" Liberals following their drubbing in the Victoria state election.

It’s believed Mr Howard will play a “key role” in Gladys Berejiklian’s state election campaign. Picture: AAP Image/Jeremy Piper
It’s believed Mr Howard will play a “key role” in Gladys Berejiklian’s state election campaign. Picture: AAP Image/Jeremy Piper

In a bid to lift spirits, Mr Howard urged the party not to panic nor to change course.

A senior Liberal source said Mr Howard, who is close to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, is set to play a "key role" in the upcoming March state election campaign to help secure an election win in the face of the expected federal government drubbing.

Faced with growing unrest over Sydney's overcrowding, Ms Berejiklian recently called for the overseas migration intake to be pulled back to "Howard-era levels" to help the state government keep up with infrastructure demands.



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