Paul Keating was awarded Life Membership of the ALP at the October NSW State Conference of the party.
Keating delivered an extemporaneous speech of acceptance. His website says of the speech:
“For anyone seeking an understanding of what Paul Keating’s public life was all about, his acceptance speech on the occasion of his life membership of the Labor Party is required reading. Delivered extemporaneously to the 1000-strong NSW ALP Conference, an assembly which had met continually at the Sydney Town Hall for over 100 years, Paul Keating outlined his credo and some of his many achievements with an earthiness demonstrably rooted in his Bankstown working-class origins. He talks of the philosophical and ideological renovation of Labor coming from his policy construct: the golden circle of high growth, productivity and low inflation; of superannuation; of Australia coming to terms with its geography; its identity and the relevance of the republic; Australia finding its security in Asia but going there as ‘us’. The speech is also a reminder of his often bruising parliamentary performances, replete with attacks on John Howard, the Packers and assorted party identities.”
- Listen to Keating’s acceptance speech
Text of Paul Keating’s ALP Life Membership acceptance speech.
Thank you, one and all, delegates, friends. It’s my very great honour to thank you on behalf of the group assembled here—those of us who have received life membership. All of us have had much from the Labor Party. All of us have had the joy of contributing to it. But all of us have had more from it than we have given to it. There are some of my former federal colleagues here today: Vince Martin, who was the member for Banks and Michael Maher, who was the member for Lowe. Three of my branch members with whom I went to meetings over the years and, of course, many other distinguished people. And on behalf of them, as for myself, I thank you. We all owe the Labor Party—I owe it especially because I was given the singular honour of leading it and of leading it in office. That’s a privilege reserved to very few Australians.