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Archives for 1965

Arthur Calwell Responds To The Menzies Government’s Military Commitment To South Vietnam

Arthur Calwell, the ALP Leader of the Opposition, announced the ALP’s opposition to the commitment of troops to South Vietnam in a speech to the House of Representatives on May 4, 1965.

Don Watson, speech writer for prime minister Paul Keating, described Calwell’s speech in these words:

“Among Australian speeches, Arthur Calwell’s 1965 speech in which he declared Labor’s opposition to the war in Vietnam stands out. The speech, when I last read it, seemed to have something of the sinewy intelligence and courage that FDR’s speech had. It is not eloquent for the sake of eloquence, but in proportion to the argument and the conviction that underlies it. Graham Freudenberg built it on a proposition, not a political convenience; that is why it is free of both cliche and condescension and the phrases still ring long after we have ceased to care about the subject. Speeches like this are rarely written nowadays because the political climate does not allow of much intellectual effort or, in general, politicians of much character. Perhaps they should bear in mind that while Labor lost the election that year it did help them grow a spine and eventually they won because of it.”

The Age

Speech by Arthur Calwell, Leader of the Opposition, to the House of Representatives.

CalwellMr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Leader of the Opposition) – The Government’s decision to send the First Battalion of the Australian Regular Army to Vietnam is, without question, one of the most significant events in the history of this Commonwealth. Why I believe this will be explained in the course of my speech. Therefore, it is a matter for regret that the Prime Minister’s announcement was made in the atmosphere that prevailed around the precincts of this Parliament last Thursday. When one recalls that even two hours before the Prime Minister rose to make his statement it was being said on his behalf that there was no certainty that any statement would be made at all, it can hardly be said that the Government’s handling of the matter was designed to inspire confidence or trust. [Read more…]


Sir Robert Menzies Announces Military Commitment To South Vietnam

Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies announced his government’s military commitment to South Vietnam in a speech to the House of Representatives on April 29, 1965.

Menzies said the government would provide an infantry batallion. He said: “The Australian Government is now in receipt of a request from the Government of South Vietnam for further military assistance.”

Menzies said the commitment had been made “after close consultation with the government of the United States”.

The Menzies government first provided assistance to South Vietnam in 1962 when it sent 30 military instructors to provide military training assistance. [Read more…]


Sir Winston Churchill’s Funeral: Eulogy By Sir Robert Menzies

This is the full text of Australian Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies’s eulogy for Sir Winston Churchill.

Churchill died on January 24, 1965, at the age of 90. His funeral was held on January 30, 1965.

Menzies delivered the eulogy from the crypt of St. Paul’s.

Eulogy by Sir Robert Menzies on the death of Sir Winston Churchill.

ONE FIRE BURNING IN HIM

As this historic procession goes through the streets of London to the Tower Pier, I have the honour of speaking to you from the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. I do this in two capacities. One is that I, Prime Minister of Australia, happen to be, in point of time, the senior Commonwealth Prime Minister, and therefore speak on behalf of a remarkable world organization which owes more that it can ever express to our departed leader, Sir Winston Churchill. He is one of the famous men whom we thank and praise. [Read more…]