Election Speeches

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James Scullin – 1929

Tonight we open what is probably the most momentous campaign in the history of this country since Federation. For nearly 30 years Australia has been writing history as a nation, and no one will deny that one of the proudest pages in our book of nationhood is that which deals with the building up of our Federal system of arbitration.

September 30th, 1929

economy federation industrial relations

James Scullin – 1928

The outstanding problems to be faced and to be honestly and firmly grappled with in the next Parliament are those directly associated with public finance, the development of Australian industries, and the employment of our people. With no desire to paint a gloomy picture, it is my duty to direct attention to our position, and to utter the warning that, notwithstanding Australia’s great natural resources and wonderfully recuperative powers, the present drift cannot be allowed to continue without fateful consequences.

November 17th, 1928

defence federal-state relations immigration Indigenous affairs industrial relations infrastructure

Arthur Calwell – 1966

The most important issue in this campaign is Conscription, the conscription of a section of our twenty year old youths, against their wishes and their wills, to kill or be killed in the undeclared, civil war in Vietnam and the threatened extension of conscription to all twenty year olds and other age groups to increase our unwarranted and unnecessary commitment.

November 10th, 1966

defence economy education foreign affairs health immigration Indigenous affairs industrial relations infrastructure social security water

Herbert Evatt – 1955

This is a vital election. The Menzies Government knows that, if it waits until next year, it will be defeated. The result of its mismanagement of the economy cannot be avoided for much longer. So this Government had decided that the people will be pit to the expense of an early election– the fifth Federal election in six years.

November 9th, 1955

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Stanley Bruce – 1929

It would be difficult to over-estimate the benefit that would accrue to industry and to the nation if we could by this means succeed in dispelling the atmosphere of distrust and suspicion which now unfortunately surrounds the relations between employer and employee, and in infusing into those relations a spirit of close and cordial co-operation and an ever-increasing measure of understanding and good-will.

September 18th, 1929

economy industrial relations

James Scullin – 1934

It was persistently suggested at the last elections that, while the Labor Government was in office, bankers and financiers would not release money for enterprise, and that, with the removal of the Labor Government, millions would flow into industry and employment and prosperity would appear. Thousands of poor people, sorely tried by poverty, voted against their lifetime convictions, but they have had a sad awakening. I am confident that, on this occasion, they will assert their rights as men and women, and, by their votes, will transfer their power to a Labor Government with majorities in both Houses of Parliament. That power, in Labor’s hands, will be used with firmness and with justice. Democracy shall rule Australia, not a financial oligarchy.

August 15th, 1934

agriculture economy employment industrial relations infrastructure

George Reid – 1903

Ladies and Gentlemen, your kind reception of me tonight takes me back many years to the time when I landed on the shores of Victoria, a boy of seven years of age, and it makes me proud to think I had the privilege to spend some time amongst such a generous community. Wherever I have gone through Victoria, the protectionists have treated me with unfailing courtesy and kindness, and if the chairman thinks a certain newspaper has an opinion that what I say is not worthy of reading, this magnificent assemblage is a proof that I seem to be worth hearing.

October 30th, 1903

government administration immigration trade economy employment

Andrew Fisher – 1913

During our period of office, we have seen increases in wealth in trade, in the areas of crops, in banking assets and banking deposits in savings, bank deposits in the number of depositors, in marriages, in births and in immigration. We have built, manned and equipped an Australian navy with our own money, and established an effective defence force.

March 31st, 1913

defence economy communications and technology federal capital federal-state relations foreign affairs health industrial relations infrastructure social security trade White Australia policy

Joseph Cook – 1913

There never was a more urgent problem in any country: urgent because of its strategic importance and vulnerability from the point of view of defence, and urgent also from the financial point of view. The two chief requirements are railways and settlers.

April 3rd, 1913

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Gough Whitlam – 1974

Here then is a record of achievement, of purpose, yet it is a record of a government which has been in office a mere 17 months. It is a record of a government which came into office after 23 unbroken years of power held by our opponents, 23 years of decay and neglect. It is a record of a government which had to overcome unparallelled obstruction in a Senate in which it was in a minority. This was our legacy in 1972—23 years of our opponents’ mistakes and a hostile Senate. We have lived with the past; and we have overcome the past, the record shows it.

April 29th, 1974

economy environment government administration health infrastructure arts defence education employment family federal-state relations foreign affairs immigration Indigenous affairs social security