Sydney, Apr.7 : Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been gifted with a cheque of 54,300 Australian dollars by an American financial services firm for his role in promoting Australia as an economic power house.
In presenting Howard with its Commonwealth Award for Government, the PNC Financial Services Group also praised his workplace reforms, which have since been undone by the Rudd government.
PNC also noted Howard's tax reforms, including the introduction of the GST, his stance on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his controversial welfare-to-work reforms, and his gun buy-back program after the Port Arthur massacre.
"Mr Howard pursued broadly pro-market economic policies in his time as prime minister," PNC said, adding that during his tenure Australia experienced economic growth averaging 3.6 per cent per annum.
"He also substantially reformed Australia's labour laws through a freer and less regulated labour market," PNC said, noting Australia's very low unemployment rate.
Howard received the award in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday, alongside three other recipients, including NASA's top climate scientist James Hansen, who last year claimed the Bush Administration had tried to silence him.
The director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York won the 50,000 dollar award for science in honour of his campaign warning about the dangers of passing climate change tipping points.
The other two award recipients were US actress Glenn Close, for dramatic arts, and NBC news anchor Ann Curry, for mass communications. They also took home prizes of 50,000 dollars.
The awards are provided by a trust of the late Ralph Hayes, a former director of Coca Cola and Bank of Delaware, now PNC.
In 29 years, 165 recipients in seven fields have included former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former US newsman Walter Cronkite, French marine biologist Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez.