Top 10 Great Labor Speeches

Troy Bramston discusses ten great speeches from Australian Labor history.

Bramston is the author of a new book, The True Believers: Great Labor Speeches That Shaped History, published by The Federation Press.

The video appears on The Australian’s website today.


Paul Keating’s Murdoch Oration: Asia In The New Order

The former Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, has delivered a stinging criticism of Australia’s foreign policy direction in a speech in Melbourne tonight.

Paul KeatingKeating delivered the Keith Murdoch Oration at the State Library of Victoria.

He argued the era of effective foreign policy activism had passed, replaced by a flagging sense of independence and “an easy accommodation with the foreign policy objectives of the United States”.

Keating reiterated his long-held views about the decline of the “Anglosphere”. He said that as prime minister, “I rejoiced in the diversity around us and the fact that the big and old societies of the East, formerly locked down by colonialism and poverty, were free to go their own way.”

“We need to concentrate on where we can be effective and where we can make the greatest difference.”

Text of Paul Keating’s Keith Murdoch Oration.

Asia in the New Order: Australia’s Diminishing Sphere of Influence

Keith Murdoch, in whose name this oration is given, represents an important position in the history of this institution. Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1939 to1945, of what was then the Melbourne Public Library, he came to the position from an industry devoted to information, namely, newspapers.

He was appointed editor of the Melbourne Herald in 1921 and played a corporate role in the Herald acquiring the Sun News-Pictorial in 1925, becoming managing director of the Herald and Weekly Times in 1928. And so began the entrepreneurial career of the first Murdoch, building the Herald and Weekly Times, which sixty years later his son Rupert acquired. [Read more…]


Paul Keating Speech At Launch Of ‘The China Choice’

Former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating has delivered a speech in which he criticises United States policy towards China.

Paul Keating

The China ChoiceKeating said the United States could not expect to win a war against China on the Asian mainland. “I have long held the view that the future of Asian stability cannot be cast by a non-Asian power – especially by the application of US military force.”

“The failure of US wars in Korea, Vietnam and – outside Asia – in Iraq and Afghanistan, should lead the US to believe that war on the Asian mainland is unwinnable.” [Read more…]


ACTU Congress Pays Tribute To Bill Kelty

Bill KeltyThe triennial Congress of the Australian Council of Trade Unions has paid tribute to the work of its former Secretary, Bill Kelty.

At a dinner in Sydney, former Prime Minister Paul Keating led the tributes.

Kelty was ACTU Secretary from 1983 until 2000. Throughout the Hawke/Keating governments, he was pivotal to the operation of The Accord with the union movement.

Kelty’s work with the government on superannuation reforms, wage fixing, tariff reductions and other issues was vital to the economic reform and social legislation of the 1980s and 1990s. [Read more…]


Paul Keating Interview On Sky News

This is a rare one-on-one extended interview with former Prime Minister Paul Keating.

It was shown on Sky News The Nation on December 15, 2011.

Amongst other topics, Keating talks about the state of current politics, Aboriginal reconciliation, the Republic issue, and his relationship with Bob Hawke.


After Four Years, Labor Is Still Buying Time

The Labor Government celebrated four years in office on Thursday with a manoeuvre that all but guaranteed it will serve a full term.

AnniversaryAs it embarks on its fifth year in office, Peter Slipper’s defection has enabled Julia Gillard to fulfil one of the most important goals of a prime minister: to insulate her government against sudden threats and extend its longevity.

The means may make some pall but the ends are delightful for a government living on the edge.

But not much else has changed. Only the madly optimistic believe Labor will make it to a sixth birthday.

Of all Australia’s federal governments since World War I, only those led by Scullin (1929-32) and Whitlam (1972-75) failed to make it to four years, although death and party-room coups meant the prime ministerial baton was often snatched from one leader and deposited with another. Only Scullin, Whitlam, Fraser and Howard led their parties to victory and then back into opposition. [Read more…]


Selling The Carbon Tax: Less Is More

Julia Gillard should have stayed in bed this week, for all the good her carbon tax campaigning did.

In fact, she ought to just shut up about the carbon tax and get on with something else.

This week smacks of the same hopeless political strategy that Rudd and Gillard have fallen for before, the strategy that says you have to run around the country like a maniac and never shut up.

It’s also the strategy that gives Tony Abbott a daily free kick as the media treat the circus like an election campaign and give him equal time.

Take Gillard’s appearance at the National Press Club yesterday. Her speech on climate change was quite good, but it was overshadowed by the personal development lecture from the Unley High school girl.

Last night’s television pictures duly centred on Gillard’s teary moment and her injunction to the press gallery to “stop writing crap”. Forget about any coverage of the economic imperatives of the carbon tax.

That argument was left to Paul Keating who, in 20 minutes on Lateline, managed to put the case better than any minister in the Government has managed for years. In that inimitable style of his, Keating positioned the tax as a necessary response to a transformative need in the economy. As an advocate, he shamed the Government with his easy command of striking political imagery. [Read more…]