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.

“The greatest legacy that this Government has given the Australian nation over the last eight and a half years is the strongest, best performing economy that we have seen since World War II.

It has not happened by accident. It’s not a fluke. It’s not been done by signing pieces of cardboard. It has been done by hard work and difficult decisions. And again let me remind you, it’s been done in the teeth of tenacious opposition from the Labor Party to virtually every fundamental reform that we have tried to bring about.”

John Howard

Liberal/National coalition

Delivered at Brisbane, Qld, September 26th, 2004

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“And as we look to the future of our children, let’s not forget the greatest intergenerational challenge of them all—saving our planet. Australia must play a role in the international struggle against global warming. Our national icons are at stake: The coral bleaching and destruction of the Great Barrier Reef; The flooding of Kakadu National Park with salt water. No responsible leader could stand by and watch these things happen.”

Mark Latham

Australian Labor Party

Delivered at Brisbane, Qld, September 29th, 2004

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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.