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  • ‘I don’t have a Facebook page!’: John Howard shocked by digital impersonator

    2019 - 07.22

    Steps Group Australia executive officer Stuart Coward shows former prime minister John Howard the fake Facebook page. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen The fake John Howard Facebook page. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    Mr Howard discovers he has a digital impersonator. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    Former US president George W Bush once called John Howard a “man of steel” over his steadfast support for the American-led invasion of Iraq.

    But it was the relatively trivial matter of a fake Facebook page that wrong-footed the usually unflappable former prime minister on Thursday.

    Appearing at a leadership conference in Canberra, Mr Howard was approached by Stuart Coward, the executive officer of Steps Group Australia, a national not-for-profit employment, training and housing organisation based in Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

    Mr Coward was excited to meet Mr Howard after sending him messages via Facebook for the last couple of years. Mr Coward would use the page to try to engage Mr Howard in conversation about cricket or seek advice about leadership issues. He never received a reply but put this down to the impossibility of personally replying to each of the page’s 37,000 followers.

    But the former PM appeared surprised when Mr Coward mentioned their correspondence. “I don’t have a Facebook page!” Mr Howard told him.

    “I think he was rather shocked actually,” Mr Coward told Fairfax Media.  

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