Each election, Prime Ministerial candidates lay out their parties’ platforms in campaign speeches. These speeches are more than just historical records; they tell us about national concerns and political obsessions, wars and drought, industry and society. They speak to – and in some cases, exploit – our aspirations and our fears. We’ve collected speeches by successful and unsuccessful candidates from every election from 1901 right up to the present day.

“We are very much aware that the great progress we have made in the last three years—the unprecedented economic growth, the low inflation, the lowest level of strikes since 1940, the huge growth in jobs, the growth in exports and productivity—has not translated automatically into material benefits, or a greater sense of security among many Australians. But that is not an argument for throwing out the policies which have given us strikingly good results.”

Paul Keating

Australian Labor Party

Delivered at Melbourne, Vic, February 14th, 1996

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“It is with an immense amount of personal pride and also an enormous amount of humility that I bring together today the essential argument as to why, after 13 long and difficult years, this nation of ours needs emphatically a change of government.”

John Howard

Liberal/National coalition

Delivered at Sydney, NSW, February 18th, 1996

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Here is a sample of the data visualisations available on our explore page.

This graph highlights the frequency of the usage of the word over time.