Click for menu
The DVD of the Trial of John Winston Howard

The Trial of John Winston Howard

Part pantomime, part political satire - it is fabulous fun. In the lead-up to one of the most important elections we have faced, this is a timely and very serious message to remind the people in your life of the shame this little man has brought down on our country.

All proceeds of the DVD sales go to refugee support groups such as The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project.

Julian Burnside and Rachel Doyle make formidable legal combatants. Who else but Linda Briskman, the head of the Centre for Human Rights could be a better choice for God. Rod Quantock wilfully incites the crowd and Max Gillies in the persona of Howard enjoys what little support he can from Her Gracious Majesty in the person of Gerry Connolly - who also brings us Paul Keating with his familiar and rambunctious interjections!

The Australian Fabians

You may have seen the show, now you can share it with your family and friends .... If you missed it or would like to share it - it's not too late.

Get the DVD and invite your friends and neighbours around to hold your own trial in the tight security of your own home - around the Barbecue or a keg!

Melbourne event credits

Director: Tim Robertson
Producers: John Timlin, Max Dumais
Writers: Julian Burnside, Gerry Connolly, Rachel Doyle, Jeremy Press, Tim Robertson, Guy Rundle
Lighting Design & Production Manager: Adrian Cherubin
Stage Management: Desiree Lane
Art & Props: Anna Cordingley, Barry Dickins
Costumes: Rose Chong and Melbourne Theatre Company
Mr Howard's Makeup: Tas Tsipouras
Video Production: Dale Bromley, Dominic Allen, Scarab, Sash Borizovski
Technical Consultant: Chris Joiner, The Pod
Technical Facilities: Sash Borizovski, Stephen Shelley
Sound Consultant: Rodney Beuthin
IT Consultant: Finn Robertson
MIDI and APRA Consultant: Peter Moloney
for Melbourne Town Hall: Ariel Valent, Joe Satero and Luay Ouda
God's Throne provided by: Catherine Hockey
Witness Box provided by: Mark Temmerman
Angel's Wings provided by: Ian Bracegirdle, Jillian Pearce & Vertigo
'The Waiting Room' Sculpture: Terry Summers
Appreciated support: Maija Putans and Richard Roberts/VCA

sample stills

Straight from the raw footage of camera 1, below are some sample stills - click on the thumbnails to open the images, and smile!

Linda Briskman as God
Lizzy, or Her Majesty the Queen (Gerry Connolly)
Julian Burnside, Prosecutor
Howard's team: Max Gillies, Rachel Doyle
Max Gillies as John Howard
Melanie La'Brooy for The Nation
Alan Jones the Parakeet
Asylum seeker 'Lucky' (Shahin Shafaie)
Saint Rod and Saint Plod 1
Saint Rod and Saint Plod 2
Rod Quantock, Clerk of Courts
Howard's lawyer Diabolica (Rachel Doyle)

Important Notice about this item:

About the publication Australian Fabian Society, The Trial of John Winston Howard (2007): This item is now out of stock, and we no longer supply it to our members or to the wider public. We suggest you could search for online new or second-hand copies to secure this product.


Title The Trial of John Howard
Format DVD, 42 minutes
Director - Live Performance Tim Robertson
Director - DVD Dale Bromley
Produced by John Timlin
Event Manager Max Dumais
Event & filming date Sunday 5 August 2007
Event Location Melbourne Town Hall
Production Tim Robertson, Dale Bromley
Supported by Australian Fabian Society and pro bono actors, performers
Featuring (1) Max Gillies (aka John Howard), Julian Burnside QC (prosecutor), Rod Quantock (Clerk of Courts), Rachel Doyle (Defending barrister), Melanie La'Brooy, Jeremy Press, Guy Rundle
Featuring (2) Linda Briskman (Centre for Human Rights) in the Court of the Supreme Bean, Gerry Connolly (Her Majesty The Queen, a witness for Howard)
Event proceeds to Asylum Seekers Resource Centre, Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, Arena, Overland and the Australian Fabian Society

Some accolades:

"Thought the event was terrific and would like the DVD as well!"

"Congratulations on a marvellous show. Will a recording of the evening be available? I'd be willing to pay a reasonable amount to get one."

"Please let me know when the DVD of the trial is ready. Greatly enjoyed the show - was a bit scared waiting in the street. Thought ASIO may have been checking us out for being un-Australian and partaking in a threat to democracy as interpreted by JWH."

The Trial of John Winston Howard

The Road to Surfdom Blog
Posted on August, 12 at 2:33 pm by Helen

"You are aware, Ms Diabolica, that the Fifth Amendment is an American instrument?"

"Yes your Honour, but unfortunately so is my client."


Last sunday night, the Melbourne Town Hall was packed to the rafters. As the doors opened, the queue stretched around the block and up to - it was rumoured - Russell street.

John Howard, as played by Max Gillies

Moosehead Awards? Dalai Lama? No - it was the Trial of John Howard, put on by the Fabian society, set in the Court of the Supreme Bean, Linda Briskman (Centre for Human Rights) with Julian Burnside as prosecutor and Rachel Doyle defending.

John Howard was played by Max Gillies. Love the prosthetic bottom lip, Max!

From the Fabian site:

"Her gracious majesty in the person of Gerry Connolly will grace us with her presence as a witness for Howard (God help him), Melanie La'Brooy will appear as a witness for the nation as well as number of others. Cast and crew have volunteered their time and brilliance to bring this man to book!"

"Tim Robertson directs, John Timlin is producer with Guy Rundle, Julian Burnside, Jeremy Press, Rod Quantock, Rachel Doyle and Melanie La'Brooy ... (Also, Shahin Shafaei as asylum seeker "Lucky", Corinne Grant as Middle Australia and Gerry Connolly again as Paul Keating in a walk-on cameo)."

It looked as if most of Middle Australia had turned out for this event. There were families from Brunswick and Thornbury to East Malvern and Blackburn - hardly inner-city Trotskyite types. If I were Mark Textor, I'd be feeling very queasy. Not only were the Doctors Wives all out in force, the doctors were all there too, along with the older doctors' kids. Lots of oldies there; two of the people in our group were over eighty - you just can't rely on these people to stay in their houses with the tartan rug over the knees any more. Troublemakers!

The ticket came with a printed warning:

Sedition warning on the event's ticket

"The bearer of this document will now be definitely known to ASIO, the CIA and sundry experts in the area of rendition, torture and detention centres and has never attended Kirribilli House or the Lodge as a fundraising guest of the Liberal Party or the Defendant."

I guess our chances of being invited to Kirribilli House for dinner are kaput now, too.

Buried down at the bottom of the program, "By popular request, Janette Howard does not appear." Zzzing! I guess it was a tough call whether to lampoon Hyacinth, and they decided to go easy on her, except for that little shot of acid.

It was intriguing to be part of such an old-style political event, in keeping with the Victorian architecture of the Town Hall. Despite the sophisticated AV equipment and auxiliary screens, this was the way we'd have been voicing our protest before blogging, forums and talkback: lampooning characters with a broad brush on the stage, with the house packed to the rafters with the ordinary voters cheering, booing and having the time of their lives.

Next day, the Hun headline was "Old, Tricky and Losing". Even the Murdochistas are abandoning John Howard. If I'm not careful, I'll find myself feeling sorry for the old rodent.

Important Notice about this item:

About the publication Australian Fabian Society, The Trial of John Winston Howard (2007): This item is now out of stock, and we no longer supply it to our members or to the wider public. We suggest you could search for online new or second-hand copies to secure this product.