Peter John Cosgrove, AC, MC, CM (b. 28 July 1947) is the 24th President of the United States of Australia, being sworn into office on July 1, 2003. Cosgrove had been elected in April 2003 after a long, distinguished career in the military. Cosgrove served in Vietnam, but rose to national prominance during operations in East Timor as a Major General. He was later promoted to Lieutenant General. In 2002, the Keating Administration appointed Cosgrove as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - this was an irony, since Cosgrove would run against and defeat Keating's Vice President, Kim Beazley, to become President.
Cosgrove announced his candidacy only months after being appointed Chairman, and subsequently resigned his military commission. The announcement was a great embarrassment to President Keating and to Vice President Beazley. Cosgrove, who had never been politically active, sought the nomination of the United Party, easily defeating more politically-well-known candidates like Gov. Jeff Kennett of Victoria and Senator Pauline Hanson for the United Party's nomination.
Cosgrove chose Congressman John Howard to be his Vice Presidential candidate. The Labour Party attempted to paint Howard, a well-known 'kingmaker' and inner-party operator, as the 'power behind the throne' and warned of Howard's conservatism overshadowing the more moderate views of Cosgrove.
In April 2003, Cosgrove and Howard defeated the Beazley/Crean ticket, winning 56% of the popular vote. President Cosgrove was inaugurated on July 1.
At the upcoming presidential election in April 2007, Cosgrove will attempt to seek a second term against former Secretary of State Kevin Rudd and Senator Jenny Macklin of the Labour Party.