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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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Days 1-2: On Message As The Election Skirmish Begins

The first couple of days after an election is called remind me of the first ten minutes or so in an AFL Grand Final.

On MessageEveryone is toey, nervous, keen to get into it. There’s muscling up to one’s opponents, a bit of what Mark Latham would call biffo, some aggressive elbowing behind the main play. The key players on each side are keen to get the first kick, control the direction of the ball and then score the first goal.

An election begins with a similar battle to kick the message straight and squarely into the goal square of the evening television news and the front pages of the daily newspapers. Minor players on both sides make their appearances but are swamped by the political ruckmen.

And so it was this past weekend when the nation’s 27th and first female prime minister came to the courtyard in Parliament House to announce that the nation’s 25th and first female Governor-General had accepted advice to dissolve the 42nd Parliament and hold the nation’s 43rd general election. [Read more…]


Don Watson Addresses Press Club On Keating Book

Don Watson, former speechwriter for Paul Keating, has addressed the National Press Club about his new book on his experiences with the former Prime Minister.

Watson’s book is titled: Recollections Of A Bleeding Heart. [Read more…]


Paul Keating Comments On Leadership At Launch Of Don Watson Book

Former prime minister Paul Keating has commented on leadership during the launch of his former speechwriter’s book on his government.

Don Watson has written Confessions of a Bleeding Heart about the Keating government from 1991 until 1996. [Read more…]


Paul Keating: Funeral Service Of The Unknown Australian Soldier

This is the text of a speech given by Prime Minister Paul Keating at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, on Remembrance Day, 1993.

  • Listen to Keating’s Speech (6m)

Text of Prime Minister Paul Keating’s speech at the Funeral Service of the Unknown Australian Soldier

Unknown Soldier SpeechWe do not know this Australian’s name and we never will. We do not know his rank or his battalion. We do not know where he was born, or precisely how and when he died. We do not know where in Australia he had made his home or when he left it for the battlefields of Europe. We do not know his age or his circumstances – whether he was from the city or the bush; what occupation he left to become a soldier; what religion, if he had a religion; if he was married or single. We do not know who loved him or whom he loved. If he had children we do not know who they are. His family is lost to us as he was lost to them. We will never know who this Australian was.

Yet he has always been among those we have honoured. We know that he was one of the 45,000 Australians who died on the Western Front. One of the 416,000 Australians who volunteered for service in the First World War. One of the 324,000 Australians who served overseas in that war, and one of the 60,000 Australians who died on foreign soil. One of the 100,000 Australians who have died in wars this century.

He is all of them. And he is one of us. [Read more…]


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…]