Well May We Say…: The Speeches That Made Australia
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Memorable speeches define a people and a place: they define a nation. It is impossible to imagine Australia’s past without Peter Lalor’s rallying cry at the Eureka Stockade or Ned Kelly’s last words from the dock. Or to imagine recent decades without Pauline Hanson’s controversial maiden speech in parliament or Gough Whitlam’s famous words after the Dismissal, which give this endlessly engrossing collection its title.
Since its publication in 2004, Well May We Say has become both an indispensable reference and a treasure trove for readers seeking inspiration. This second edition features a new introduction and the addition of defining speeches from the past ten years, among them the Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples and Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech. It is a must for every Australian bookshelf.
Germany: He made his mark on the world, not as a political theorist, certainly not as a military tactician, but as a dramatist. He was a story-maker. Other story-makers were in business in Germany at the time: Freudians, existentialists, theologians, scientists and ideologues of all kinds were offering their own versions of what was happening. Hitler outdid them all—at least for a while—because he was able to place the German people in an awesome story that thundered through their blood and
line of succession. In those circumstances, and without any advice from me, the Governor-General decided to commission me to form a government to carry on the affairs of this country. As honourable members will agree, it was obvious to all at that time that at any moment Australia might find itself at war, and that it was imperative there should be a government fully clothed with all powers … to deal with any situation that might arise … I told my colleagues, without any pressure at all … that
Parliament should recognise that there is a court case in progress. That the judge has reserved his decision, that having waited for a number of months for the legal matters surrounding Mr Slipper to come to a conclusion, that this Parliament should see that conclusion. I believe that is the appropriate path forward, and that people will then have an opportunity to make up their minds with the fullest information available to them. But whenever people make up their minds about those questions,
blurs it nor detracts from it. It was etched indelibly by the clear-cutting mind of youth. I never saw Henry Lawson again. I too left Australia. When I returned, the earth—that Australian earth cleansed of history by an oblivion of fallowhood—lay kind upon him who had helped to give it national significance. I had no more than settled in the house after the bustle of arrival before my mother said, ‘You must see where they have laid your friend, Henry Lawson. I’ll take you tomorrow.’ No one
Australian feel as though they matter and that they are important. These are the things that I think have happened, and I think with you—and I say this, with you in the media—we’ve tried to create a new standard for Australia. New standards in public policy, new standards in accountability, in the articulation of change—and as well as that, new standards in energy—keeping the change going, keeping the fire burning. This election puts all that to the test. Did we build a new standard? Have we