Election Speeches

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John Curtin – 1940

The country is at war.

The Commonwealth of Australia entered this war, not of any act of itself, but because Germany, pursuing a ruthless policy of aggression, forced war on the British Commonwealth of Nations. The entire guilt lies with Germany.

August 28th, 1940

defence communications and technology infrastructure social security

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

Billy Hughes – 1917

This is no time for kid gloves or beating about the bush. It is the time for plain speaking. It is a fight to a finish. It is no time for mealy-mouthed speaking. We must say what we believe in this fight. You must do your duty the same as the men who are fighting your battles, and if you do it half as well we shall win the greatest victory ever known in Australia.

March 27th, 1917

defence economy immigration trade

Kim Beazley – 2001

Never be in any doubt: I will never tolerate a situation in which my fellow Australians live in the economic shadowlands, drifting in and out of unemployment and low wage jobs without a helping hand. That is not the Australian way! Our thinkers, our creators, our inventors, our scientists and technologists—these are just some of the people crucial to Australia’s future.

October 31st, 2001

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Bob Hawke – 1984

Never in the last decade – and more – has there been anything like the combination of favourable economic prospects that now exist: consumer confidence at record levels; business confidence and business investment restored and growing by the month; the housing industry buoyant; manufacturing production rising; industrial disputes dramatically down; interest rates declining; employment up; inflation down.

With a record like that, is it any wonder that Paul Keating has been nominated as the world’s best Treasurer?

November 13th, 1984

defence economy education family arts communications and technology employment environment foreign affairs health Indigenous affairs infrastructure social security women crime

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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Gough Whitlam – 1972

The war of intervention in Vietnam is ending. The great powers are rethinking and remoulding their relationships and their obligations. Australia cannot stand still at such a time. We cannot afford to limp along with men whose attitudes are rooted in the slogans of the 1950s‚ the slogans of fear and hate. If we made such a mistake, we would make Australia a backwater in our region and a back number in history. The Australian Labor Party‚ vindicated as we have been on all the great issues of the past‚ stands ready to take Australia forward to her rightful, proud, secure and independent place in the future of our region.

November 13th, 1972

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Billy Hughes – 1919

But what of the future? The burning blasts of war have shrivelled, blackened, and destroyed the world we once knew. Old landmarks have disappeared. The nations of the earth panting from the struggle, impoversihed by the unprecedented destruction of wealth, are confronted with a new set of financial, national, and industrial circumstances. Humanity has indulged in a terrible orgy of destruction; it must pay the price. We must enter on a long period of reconstruction—wherein captial will be scarce, interest high, wages and materials costly.

October 30th, 1919

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Malcolm Fraser – 1977

Our policies have given people the confidence and incentive to invest in Australia’s future. Australia is ready to go with six thousand million dollars of development in coal, iron ore, bauxite, alumina, petroleum and nickel, in manufacturing industry, in construction and retailing.

November 21st, 1977

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Robert Menzies – 1949

Communism in Australia is an alien and destructive pest. If elected, we shall outlaw it. The Communist Party will be declared subversive and unlawful, and dissolved. A receiver will be appointed to deal with its assets. Subject to appeal, the Attorney-General will be em-powered to declare other bodies substantially Communist; to follow the party into any new form and attach illegality to that new association.

November 10th, 1949

communism economy employment family immigration White Australia policy socialism