Malcolm Fraser’s Whitlam Oration

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has delivered the 2012 Whitlam Oration to the Whitlam Institute in Sydney.

Malcolm Fraser

Nearly thirty-seven years after the Fraser-led coalition parties blocked the Budget and Sir John Kerr dismissed the Whitlam government, Fraser remarked that in the 1970s “few people would have believed that Malcolm Fraser would be delivering a Gough Whitlam oration”.

Fraser, 82, spoke mainly about foreign policy and international politics, and issues concerning race, immigration and refugees.

Gough Whitlam was not in attendance but a video message from him was shown:

  • Listen to Malcolm Fraser’s speech (51m)

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  • Listen to Gough Whitlam on Fraser and multiculturalism

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  • Listen to Senator John Faulkner comment on Whitlam and Fraser

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Text of The Whitlam Oration given by Malcolm Fraser.

“Politics, Independence and the National Interest: the legacy of power and how to achieve a peaceful Western Pacific”

I am honoured to be asked to make this speech. During the turbulent years of the 1970’s, few people would have believed that Malcolm Fraser would be delivering a Gough Whitlam Oration. Politics is a hard business. The opposition of one party to another can become toxic. We have had this demonstrated to us all too often in recent years. But it does not always have to be this way.

By any standards Gough Whitlam is a formidable, political warrior. He has inspired an undying loyalty amongst his supporters. He is an historic figure who has made a significant impact on the life of Australia. He had grand ideas, many of which left their mark on Australia. A number of which were embraced by the following government. Others have survived despite the opposition from the other side of politics.

He was the first Australian Prime Minister to recognise China. As Australian Prime Minister he had the confidence and knowledge to recognise the distinct national interests of our country. He established ground breaking enquiries into Land Rights for Aboriginal Australians and also over a number of environmental issues, where reports were later implemented by my government.

As political antagonists we had substantial differences, but as Australians we had shared interests and concerns. [Read more…]

The Death Of Margaret Whitlam

Margaret Whitlam died, aged 92, on March 17, 2012.

Parliamentary tributes were delivered on March 19. A memorial service was held on March 23.

Margaret Whitlam Memorial Service

  • Mar 17: Prime Minister Julia Gillard comments on the death of Margaret Whitlam

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  • Mar 17: Remembering Margaret Whitlam
  • Mar 17: Margaret Whitlam Dies, 92
  • Mar 19-20: House of Representatives & Senate Condolence Motion Speeches:
    • Julia Gillard (ALP)

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    • Tony Abbott (Lib)

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    • Tanya Plibersek (ALP>

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    • Julie Bishop (Lib)

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    • Kevin Rudd (ALP)

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    • Malcolm Turnbull (Lib)

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    • Senator John Faulker (ALP)

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    • Senator Marise Payne (Lib)

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    • Senator Bob Brown (Greens)

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    • Josh Frydenberg (Lib)
    • Natasha Griggs (CLP)
  • Mar 23: Tony Whitlam’s eulogy for his mother

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  • Mar 23 Catherine Dovey’s eulogy for her mother

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Gough and Margaret Whitlam Awarded ALP Life Membership

Gough Whitlam, 90, and his wife, Margaret, 87, have been awarded the first-ever life memberships of the Australian Labor Party at the national level.

Gough and Margaret Whitlam at the ALP National Conference, 28-04-2007 The awards were made at the ALP National Conference in Sydney.

Addressing the conference, the former Prime Minister reminded delegates of his famous admonition of the Victorian branch in 1967 when he derided the oppositionist mentality that equated defeat with ideological purity: “Certainly the impotent are pure”.

Forty years later, the nonagenarian Whitlam told the conference, “when I was 50 I could get away with saying things like that.”

Whitlam noted that under his leadership in the 1969 elections, the ALP secured “the greatest swing on record and won 17 seats”. It would not have been lost on conference delegates that in 2007 the ALP needs to win 16 seats to secure a bare majority in the House of Representatives. [Read more…]

Apathy And Anger: John Faulkner On Our Modern Democracy

The ALP’s former leader in the Senate, John Faulkner, says Australian democracy is “drowning in distrust”.

Arguing that politics requires commitment, patience, and a sense of proportion, Faulkner criticised Mark Latham’s for young people to reject organised politics.

Faulkner said: “Unless we have mature and realistic expectations of the possibilities of politics and the capacity of politicians, we cannot as a society understand or resolve the real problems within the political system. If our analysis is as shallow as Mark Latham’s complaints that people were mean to him, our solutions will be as self-defeating as his decision to take his bat and ball and go home.”

  • Listen to Mark Latham’s remarks at Melbourne University:

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This is the text of Senator John Faulkner’s Henry Parkes Oration, at the Henry Parkes Memorial School of Arts, Tenterfield, NSW.

In Australia today there is a dangerous indifference to politics accompanied by a simmering resentment of politicians. Citizens who haven’t enough interest in the democratic process to stay even vaguely informed of the issues of the day have only one profound political conviction: that politicians can’t be trusted. Politicians show reciprocal cynicism in an electoral climate where a lie about mortgage rates has more impact than the truth about lies. [Read more…]

Kernot Quits Democrats To Join Labor

Senator Cheryl Kernot today defected from the Australian Democrats to join the ALP.

Kernot resigned as leader of the Democrats, as a member of the party, and from the Senate.

She said she stood ready to contest a Liberal-held marginal seat for the ALP.

Transcript of Cheryl Kernot’s resignation press conference.

Cheryl KernotI have called this press conference today to inform you of my decision to resign as Leader of the Australian Democrats, and as a member of both the party and the Senate.

I fully appreciate this decision will come as a shock to members of a party I have served for 17 years. But it is a decision which, in the past 18 months, has grown unavoidable for two reasons. One, my personal and growing sense of outrage at the damage being done to Australia by the Howard Government. And two, my concern that from my position in the Senate I had a limited capacity to minimise that damage.

The change of Government in 1996 and the actions of the Howard administration since, especially the first Costello Budget, have been a defining episode for me. I have reached the conclusion that, for me, the imperative at the next Federal election lies not in battling to extract a share of the third party vote to keep balance of power in the Senate. [Read more…]