Bodyline, The Economy And A Republic: Wayne Swan Joins The Dots

The Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has released an Australia Day article that draws a series of connections between the 1930s Bodyline cricket series, the contemporary economy and a future republic.

SwanSwan remembers Bodyline as typifying Australian resistance to English imperial superiority. He sees Australia defending “fair play” and playing “within both the letter and the spirit of the rules”. Australia’s code, says Swan, is “not a gentleman’s code” but “a democratic code”.

Linking Bodyline with the 1930s Depression, Swan says “Australians didn’t cause that Depression and to a very great extent we were powerless to tackle it..because we lacked full economic sovereignty”.

Swan says Bodyline and the Great Depression “helped awaken a democratic and egalitarian assertion of Australian national sovereignty that still serves us well on Australia Day 2013.”

Despite the fact that the Rudd and Gillard governments have done nothing over the past five years to promote constitutional change, Swan says reflection on Bodyline and the Depression “will eventually” have the legacy of “hastening the approach of an Australian republic”.

Swan’s argument is similar in style to his musings last year on Bruce Springsteen’s opposition to economic privilege. In his John Button Oration, Swan sought to emphasise democratic and egalitarian values at the heart of the Labor government’s value system.

Swan’s article today is an attempt to add to the over-arching story the government has been developing as the federal election draws near.

Text of an article released by the Treasurer, Wayne Swan.

Forged in Fair Play – 80 Years on From Bodyline

It has been another eventful Australian summer, marked by bushfires that have once again tested some of our nation’s most important values: our capacity to stick together in a crisis, help out those who need help, display coolness, competence and courage under pressure.

In a time of transition, with our nation on the cusp of the Asian Century, our values are the most treasured commodities we possess, ones which will always endure. So as we celebrate this Australia Day, it is worth reflecting on the origins and nature of Australia’s national values.

There’s no one source of our national character. It comes from our indigenous heritage, from the struggles of the convicts and early settlers, the Federation period with its conflicts and mateship, and of course our nation’s experiences on the battlefields of war. [Read more…]


Scott Morrison: Australia, The Land Of Our Adoption

The Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison, has delivered a speech on immigration and multiculturalism in which he depicts Australia as a nation of “adopted children” and calls for Australians to honour their national inheritance.

MorrisonIt was delivered at the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, Kings College, London.

Morrison argues that Australia’s nationalism “is divorced from ethnicity, race and religion, disarming what is often a volatile and potentially negative combination”.

He says the “traditions, values and ethnic culture” of immigrants to Australia “are part of the process of transition from our old lands, culture and ways of life to the new that has been part of the national and cultural journey of Australians for centuries. It is an iterative process, taking place over a lifetime and generations, as we exchange and adapt the old for the new, bringing what’s best, leaving the rest and embracing over time a new national identity”.

Morrison points to Henry Parkes, Robert Lowe and WC Wentworth as examples of the inheritors of a “modern liberal democratic immigration nation” becoming its stewards.

The Howard government reoriented multiculturalism, says Morrison. It sought “to bring a greater focus on what communities had in common as Australians”, adopting a policy that “deliberately set out to explicitly recognize the supremacy of Australian values, the primacy of the English language, respect for existing institutions and adherence to the rule of law”. [Read more…]


Kevin Rudd Praises Spirit of ‘Fair Go’ And ‘Can Do’ In Speech To Australian Of The Year Nominees

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has praised Australian of the Year nominees, at a morning tea at The Lodge, in Canberra.

Rudd said the Australian story was summed up in two expressions: “I’ve summarised it as the spirit of the ‘can do’. That is, Australians who look at a problem and say to themselves ‘I can fix that’, and they go about fixing it.

“And then there’s equally the great Australian spirit of the ‘fair go’. That is, when I see my brother or my sister in need, then they deserve a fair go and my job is to go out there and do what I can to give that to them.” [Read more…]


Kevin Rudd’s Australia Day Speech

This is Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s speech to an Australia Day reception in Sydney.

Rudd talked of his family’s origins and praised Australian qualities of practicality, the fair go and volunteering. [Read more…]


Mark Latham: A Big Country – Australia’s National Identity

This is the text of a speech delivered by the Leader of the Opposition, Mark Latham, to The Global Foundation, in Sydney.

Text of speech by Mark Latham to The Global Foundation.

LathamI have always believed in Australia as a big country – big in size, big in spirit, big in its egalitarian ways. These are the values that will guide a future Labor Government. Always reaching out to our fellow citizens. Always trying to build a more cohesive and just society. Always standing up for Australian independence and Australian sovereignty.

Already we have released a wad of policy aimed at achieving these social goals. Our Read Aloud program for early childhood development. Our Aim Higher policy for TAFE and university access. Our plan to save bulk billing and establish a national dental program. And to help parents balance their work and family commitments, Labor’s Baby Care Payment. [Read more…]


Tetchy Howard Defends Choice Of Waugh As Australian Of The Year

Prime Minister has given a tetchy doorstop interview about whether too many sportspeople were being chosen as Australian of the Year.

It followed the announcement that the retired cricketer, Steve Waugh, had been chosen as Australian of the Year. [Read more…]


Australia’s Latest Population Figures

These are the latest population figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The percentage increase since the last census is shown in brackets.

  • Australia: 19,727,476 (1.3)
  • NSW: 6,657,351 (1.0)
  • Victoria: 4,888,234 (1.4)
  • Queensland: 3,729,028 (2.3)
  • Western Australia: 1,934,494 (1.4)
  • South Australia: 1,522,456 (0.6)
  • Tasmania: 473,365 (0.4)
  • ACT: 322,234 (0.8)
  • Northern Territory: 197,724 (-0.1)
  • Other Territories: 2,590 (0.2)