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.

“Ladies and gentlemen, and my fellow Australians. Election campaigns are never held in a vacuum. They are not dry comparisons of neat policies, be it economic, taxation or otherwise. They are an opportunity for a nation collectively to stock take. To ask what Australia stands for and to ask what they want it to stand for in the future.”

John Howard

Liberal/National coalition

Delivered at Parramatta, NSW, September 20th, 1998

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“There is no one magic source for that security and opportunity. It is not good enough to mouth assurances that they will somehow magically trickle down from on high, or emerge out of some soulless economic machine. If a tax looks like it is going to hurt, that is because it will. Governments cause pain frequently enough, even when they don’t mean to, and there is no mystical virtue in accepting pain for pain’s sake.”

Kim Beazley

Australian Labor Party

Delivered at Brisbane, Qld, September 23rd, 1998

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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.