November 19th, 1863 – in 272 words President Abraham Lincoln transformed the meaning behind the civil war and memorialised all those who had died in the conflict.

[youtube https://youtu.be/5_hYZFUsOuw]

The Full Speech

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

SPEECH – The Gettysburg Address – Abraham Lincoln

[youtube https://youtu.be/-x3ZSUr9aJU]

When I was little, Irish new-wave group Auto de Fe were part of the rotation of tapes played in the car.

This was my particular favourite track from the album Tatitum – I found it so haunting and beautiful and sad.

auto de fe

Subsequently, I heard somewhere that the song was about abortion – necessarily oblique due to the politics of the time. However, I can’t find anything online about it…so taking that with a pinch of salt.

 

MUSIC VIDEO – November, November – Auto de Fe

On the 8th of October 2012, then Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard reacted to sexism allegations (regarding a third party) from Tony Abbot – the then first opposition leader.

Her blistering response went viral across the world.

[youtube https://youtu.be/ihd7ofrwQX0]

The Full Speech

Thank you very much Deputy Speaker and I rise to oppose the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition. And in so doing I say to the Leader of the Opposition I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. And the Government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever.

The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well I hope the Leader of the Opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation. Because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror. That’s what he needs.

Let’s go through the Opposition Leader’s repulsive double standards, repulsive double standards when it comes to misogyny and sexism. We are now supposed to take seriously that the Leader of the Opposition is offended by Mr Slipper’s text messages, when this is the Leader of the Opposition who has said, and this was when he was a minister under the last government – not when he was a student, not when he was in high school – when he was a minister under the last government.

He has said, and I quote, in a discussion about women being under-represented in institutions of power in Australia, the interviewer was a man called Stavros. The Leader of the Opposition says “If it’s true, Stavros, that men have more power generally speaking than women, is that a bad thing?”

And then a discussion ensues, and another person says “I want my daughter to have as much opportunity as my son.” To which the Leader of the Opposition says “Yeah, I completely agree, but what if men are by physiology or temperament, more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?”

Then ensues another discussion about women’s role in modern society, and the other person participating in the discussion says “I think it’s very hard to deny that there is an underrepresentation of women,” to which the Leader of the Opposition says, “But now, there’s an assumption that this is a bad thing.”

This is the man from whom we’re supposed to take lectures about sexism. And then of course it goes on. I was very offended personally when the Leader of the Opposition, as Minister of Health, said, and I quote, “Abortion is the easy way out.” I was very personally offended by those comments. You said that in March 2004, I suggest you check the records.

I was also very offended on behalf of the women of Australia when in the course of this carbon pricing campaign, the Leader of the Opposition said “What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing…” Thank you for that painting of women’s roles in modern Australia.

And then of course, I was offended too by the sexism, by the misogyny of the Leader of the Opposition catcalling across this table at me as I sit here as Prime Minister, “If the Prime Minister wants to, politically speaking, make an honest woman of herself…”, something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this chair. I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition went outside in the front of Parliament and stood next to a sign that said “Ditch the witch.”

I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition stood next to a sign that described me as a man’s bitch. I was offended by those things. Misogyny, sexism, every day from this Leader of the Opposition. Every day in every way, across the time the Leader of the Opposition has sat in that chair and I’ve sat in this chair, that is all we have heard from him.

And now, the Leader of the Opposition wants to be taken seriously, apparently he’s woken up after this track record and all of these statements, and he’s woken up and he’s gone “Oh dear, there’s this thing called sexism, oh my lords, there’s this thing called misogyny. Now who’s one of them? Oh, the Speaker must be because that suits my political purpose.”

Doesn’t turn a hair about any of his past statements, doesn’t walk into this Parliament and apologise to the women of Australia. Doesn’t walk into this Parliament and apologise to me for the things that have come out of his mouth. But now seeks to use this as a battering ram against someone else.

Well this kind of hypocrisy must not be tolerated, which is why this motion from the Leader of the Opposition should not be taken seriously.

And then second, the Leader of the Opposition is always wonderful about walking into this Parliament and giving me and others a lecture about what they should take responsibility for.

Always wonderful about that – everything that I should take responsibility for, now apparently including the text messages of the Member for Fisher. Always keen to say how others should assume responsibility, particularly me.

Well can anybody remind me if the Leader of the Opposition has taken any responsibility for the conduct of the Sydney Young Liberals and the attendance at this event of members of his frontbench?

Has he taken any responsibility for the conduct of members of his political party and members of his frontbench who apparently when the most vile things were being said about my family, raised no voice of objection? Nobody walked out of the room; no-one walked up to Mr Jones and said that this was not acceptable.

Instead of course, it was all viewed as good fun until it was run in a Sunday newspaper and then the Leader of the Opposition and others started ducking for cover.

Big on lectures of responsibility, very light on accepting responsibility himself for the vile conduct of members of his political party.

Third, Deputy Speaker, why the Leader of the Opposition should not be taken seriously on this motion.

The Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition have come into this place and have talked about the Member for Fisher. Well, let me remind the Opposition and the Leader of the opposition party about their track record and association with the Member for Fisher.

I remind them that the National Party preselected the Member for Fisher for the 1984 election, that the National Party preselected the Member for Fisher for the 1987 election, that the Liberals preselected Mr Slipper for the 1993 election, then the 1996 election, then the 1998 election, then for the 2001 election, then for the 2004 election, then for the 2007 election and then for the 2010 election.

And across these elections, Mr Slipper enjoyed the personal support of the Leader of the Opposition. I remind the Leader of the Opposition that on 28 September 2010, following the last election campaign, when Mr Slipper was elected as Deputy Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition at that stage said this, and I quote.

He referred to the Member for Maranoa, who was also elected to a position at the same time, and then went on as follows: “And the Member for Fisher will serve as a fine complement to the Member for Scullin in the chair. I believe that the Parliament will be well-served by the team which will occupy the chair in this chamber. I congratulate the Member for Fisher, who has been a friend of mine for a very long time, who has served this Parliament in many capacities with distinction.”

The words of the Leader of the Opposition on record, about his personal friendship with Mr [Slipper], and on record about his view about Mr Slipper’s qualities and attributes to be the Speaker.

No walking away from those words, they were the statement of the Leader of the Opposition then. I remind the Leader of the Opposition, who now comes in here and speaks about apparently his inability to work with or talk to Mr Slipper. I remind the Leader of the Opposition he attended Mr Slipper’s wedding.

Did he walk up to Mr Slipper in the middle of the service and say he was disgusted to be there? Was that the attitude he took? No, he attended that wedding as a friend.

The Leader of the Opposition keen to lecture others about what they ought to know or did know about Mr Slipper. Well with respect, I’d say to the Leader of the Opposition after a long personal association including attending Mr Slipper’s wedding, it would be interesting to know whether the Leader of the Opposition was surprised by these text messages.

He’s certainly in a position to speak more intimately about Mr Slipper than I am, and many other people in this Parliament, given this long personal association.

Then of course the Leader of the Opposition comes into this place and says, and I quote, “Every day the Prime Minister stands in this Parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this Parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.”

Well can I indicate to the Leader of the Opposition the Government is not dying of shame, my father did not die of shame, what the Leader of the Opposition should be ashamed of is his performance in this Parliament and the sexism he brings with it. Now about the text messages that are on the public record or reported in the – that’s a direct quote from the Leader of the Opposition so I suggest those groaning have a word with him.

On the conduct of Mr Slipper, and on the text messages that are in the public domain, I have seen the press reports of those text messages. I am offended by their content. I am offended by their content because I am always offended by sexism. I am offended by their content because I am always offended by statements that are anti-women.

I am offended by those things in the same way that I have been offended by things that the Leader of the Opposition has said, and no doubt will continue to say in the future. Because if this today was an exhibition of his new feminine side, well I don’t think we’ve got much to look forward to in terms of changed conduct.

I am offended by those text messages. But I also believe, in terms of this Parliament making a decision about the speakership, that this Parliament should recognise that there is a court case in progress. That the judge has reserved his decision, that having waited for a number of months for the legal matters surrounding Mr Slipper to come to a conclusion, that this Parliament should see that conclusion.

I believe that is the appropriate path forward, and that people will then have an opportunity to make up their minds with the fullest information available to them.

But whenever people make up their minds about those questions, what I won’t stand for, what I will never stand for is the Leader of the Opposition coming into this place and peddling a double standard. Peddling a standard for Mr Slipper he would not set for himself. Peddling a standard for Mr Slipper he has not set for other members of his frontbench.

Peddling a standard for Mr Slipper that has not been acquitted by the people who have been sent out to say the vilest and most revolting things like his former Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Senator Bernardi.

I will not ever see the Leader of the Opposition seek to impose his double standard on this Parliament. Sexism should always be unacceptable. We should conduct ourselves as it should always be unacceptable. The Leader of the Opposition says do something; well he could do something himself if he wants to deal with sexism in this Parliament.

He could change his behaviour, he could apologise for all his past statements, he could apologise for standing next to signs describing me as a witch and a bitch, terminology that is now objected to by the frontbench of the Opposition.

He could change a standard himself if he sought to do so. But we will see none of that from the Leader of the Opposition because on these questions he is incapable of change. Capable of double standards, but incapable of change. His double standards should not rule this Parliament.

Good sense, common sense, proper process is what should rule this Parliament. That’s what I believe is the path forward for this Parliament, not the kind of double standards and political game-playing imposed by the Leader of the Opposition now looking at his watch because apparently a woman’s spoken too long.

I’ve had him yell at me to shut up in the past, but I will take the remaining seconds of my speaking time to say to the Leader of the Opposition I think the best course for him is to reflect on the standards he’s exhibited in public life, on the responsibility he should take for his public statements; on his close personal connection with Peter Slipper, on the hypocrisy he has displayed in this House today.

And on that basis, because of the Leader of the Opposition’s motivations, this Parliament today should reject this motion and the Leader of the Opposition should think seriously about the role of women in public life and in Australian society because we are entitled to a better standard than this.

SPEECH – On Misogyny – Julia Gillard

World Teachers Day!

The West Wing – Thank you Teachers!

[youtube https://youtu.be/InJ23OG7sn8]

Help fund the 10th Leeds Brownies trip to London!

browniesOur good friend and Eagle Owl @BookElfLeeds is raising money for her Brownies. Here’s why

When we asked our Brownies what they really wanted to do this year, they told us they wanted to visit London.

We’re a Leeds Brownie unit, based in LS4/LS6, for whom money is tight, and we’d love to give our girls, aged 7-11, the trip of their lives. For most of them it will be their first time visiting London, for some their first time away from home.

We’d love to make this as cheap a trip as possible so that ALL our Brownies can join us, and for that to happen we need your help!

Funds will go initially to cover transport and accommodation costs, and to buy food for the girls. If there is any left over we’d love to have some thing special to look forward to, any suggestions let us know!

We’re travelling down in February. The girls are planning a fundraising Christmas Fair (more details as and when) and our plucky Eagle Owl Jess is going to complete the Leeds Country Way-a 63 round trip all around Leeds-all to raise money.

If you can spare a fiver, that would pay for tea for one of the girls. We’re grateful for every penny and will keep updates on things we’re planning, and let you know how the trip goes!

You’ll be making twenty little girl’s wishes come true with every donation-on behalf of them all THANK YOU for your very kind donations.

If you have a moment, please check out the JustGiving page here!

Convinced? Donate HERE!

29th September 1943 – Dame Enid Lyon was the first woman elected to the Australian parliament.

Her speech reflects a humourous person who was well aware of her areas of expertise and was fully prepared to engage them for maximum impact.

Here, her speech is recited by Noreen Le Mottee

[youtube https://youtu.be/fur7Yhgt2KM]

The Full Speech

It would be strange indeed were I not tonight deeply conscious of the fact, if not a little awed by the knowledge, that my shoulders rests a great weight of responsibility; because this is the first occasion upon which a woman has addressed this house. For that reason it is an occasion which, for every woman in the Commonwealth, marks in some degree a turning point in history. I am well aware that, as I acquit myself in the work that I have undertaken for the next three years, so shall I either prejudice or enhance the prospects of those women who may wish to follow me in public service in the years to come. I know that many honorable members have viewed the advent of women to the legislative halls with something approaching alarm; they have feared, I have no doubt, the somewhat too vigorous use of a new broom. I wish to reassure them. I hold very sound views on brooms, and sweeping. Although I quite realize that a new broom is a very useful adjunct to the work of the housewife, I also know that it undoubtedly is very unpopular in the broom cupboard; and this particular new broom knows that she has a very great deal to learn from the occupants of I dare not say this particular cupboard. At all events she hopes to conduct herself with sufficient modesty and sufficient sense of her lack of knowledge at least to earn the desire of honorable members to give her whatever help they may be able to give. I believe, very sincerely, that any woman entering the public arena must be prepared to work as men work; she must justify herself not as a woman but as a citizen; she must attack the same problems, and be prepared to shoulder the same burdens. But because I am a woman, and cannot divest myself of those qualities that are inherent in my sex, and because every one of us speaks broadly in the terms of one’s own experience, honorable members will have to become accustomed to the application of the homely metaphors of the kitchen rather than those of the operating theatre, the workshop, or the farm. They must also become accustomed to the application to all kinds of measures of the touchstone of their effect upon the home and the family life. I hope that no-one will imagine that that implies in any way a limitation of my political interest. Rather, it implies an ever widening outlook on every problem that faces the world to-day. Every subject from high finance to international relations, from social security to the winning of the war, touches very closely the home and the family. The late King George V, as he neared the end of a great reign and a good life, made a statement upon which any one may base the whole of one s political philosophy, when he said, “The foundation of a nation’s greatness is in the homes of its people”. Therefore, honorable members will not, I know, be surprised when I say that I am likely to be even more concerned with national character than with national effort.

Somewhere about the year 1830 there began a period in Australian history which for me has always held a peculiar fascination. I should like to have been born at about that time. I should like to have been alive in the days when bushrangers flourished, when life was hard and even raw, when gold was discovered, when the colonies became States, and when all of the great social and political movements were born which so coloured the fabric of Australian life; because, during all those years very much of what we now know as the Australian character was formed. It was during those years that we learned those things which still characterize the great bulk of our people hatred of oppression, love of “a fair go”, a passion for justice. It was in those years that we developed those qualities of initiative and daring that have marked our men in every war in which they have fought qualities which, I hope, will never be allowed to die. We are now on the threshold of such another era, when further formative measures will have to be taken; because we are today an organized community which no longer ‘ exists purely upon the initiative of its individual members, and if we would ‘ serve Australia well we must preserve those characteristics that were formed ‘ during that early period of our history.

I have been delighted, since I came here, to find the almost unanimity that exists in respect of the need for social service and in respect of many of the other problems that have been discussed in this chamber. In the matter of social security one thing stands out clearly in my mind. Such things are necessary in order that the weak shall not go to the wall, that the strong may be supported, that all may have justice. But we must never so blanket ourselves that those fine national qualities of which I have spoken shall no longer have play. I know so well that fear want and idleness can kill the spirit of any people. But I know, too, that security can be bought at too great a cost the cost of spiritual freedom. How, then, may we strike a balance? That, it seems to me, is the big question for us to decide today There is one answer. We know perfectly well that any system of social security devised today must be financed largely from general taxation. Yet I would insist that every person in the community in receipt of any income whatsoever must make some contribution to the fund for social security. I want it to be an act of conscious citizenship. I want every child to be taught that when he begins to earn, then, for the first time, he will have the first privilege and right of citizenship to begin to contribute to the great scheme that has been designed to serve him when he is no longer able to work and to help all of those who at any period of their lives may meet with distress or trouble. In such a scheme, I believe, there should be pensions for all; there should be no means test; those who have should contribute according to their means. But every one, however little he or she earns, should contribute something, be it only a three-penny stamp, as a sort of token payment for the advantage of Australian citizenship. In passing, let me say this: There is one reform, at least, that could be applied to our present pensions system, which would have the greatest effect in making a little brighter the lives of those upon whom the years are already closing in. I consider that every pensioner should have his or her pension posted to him or her in the form of a cheque. At the present time any pensioner who so wishes has the right to have the pension sent in that way, but few pensioners are aware of it. If that were done, I believe that not only would congestion in post offices be relieved, but also that a small contribution would be made to easing the burden of those who have come to old age or illness.

I am delighted that the honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) should have secured the honour of having introduced to this chamber, in this debate, the subject of population. Other members also have seized upon that subject, apparently with a very great deal of pleasure, and have dealt with it at some length; but to the honorable member for Denison go the honours. I, like him, have pondered on this subject not with my feet upon the mantle-piece, but knee-deep in shawls and feeding bottles. I have pondered it, surrounded by those who, by their very numbers, have done quite a good deal to boost the population of Australia. I believe that I have at least tried out some of the theories which would make for a better population, and that I know some of the difficulties that present themselves to any person who, in these days, desires to rear a family. One honorable member has spoken of the need for a greater population for reasons of defence. That, of course, is something that has to be considered. But there has also to be considered the fact that, unless we fill this country we shall have no justification in the years that are ahead for holding it at all.

Another honorable member spoke of the need for decentralization. On the north-west coast of Tasmania, which is a part of the district that I represent, there is, I believe, the best example of decentralization that is to be found anywhere in Australia; but I do not want the House to believe that that is why eleven members of the Lyons family were born at Devonport. I consider that something more than decentralization is necessary if the population of Australia is to be increased. It would be well to go back a little while and look for the reasons for the decline of population during the last 50 or 60 years. Two main reasons are ascribed, the first the growth of industrialism and the changed conditions resulting therefrom. Population became urban instead of rural, and the conditions in which children were brought up became less and less suitable. People were crowded. Housing was inadequate, and the large families went to the wall. The incidence of disease increased, and industrial disease came with the development of new occupations. The workers were unmercifully exploited. State paternalism became necessary, and even in State paternalism certain reasons for the decline of family life can be found. At the other end of the social scale other reasons can be found for the declining birth-rate. New inventions, and the provision of luxuries, provided new ways of spending incomes and leisure. There was less domestic help to be had. Finally, people began to think that the woman who became the mother of a family was something of a lunatic. About 30 years later she began to be regarded as something of a criminal lunatic. In the end the belief developed that it was a social virtue to produce fewer and fewer children. Where such a state of affairs exists, it is a matter of courage, even of hardihood, to have a family of more than two or three.

Still another reason for the declining birthrate is sometimes advanced, a reason belonging to the moral rather than to the economic sphere. It is to be found in that strange reluctance to reproduce themselves that has overtaken the peoples of the past in the final years of their decline. That is a picture which none of us cares to contemplate. I agree with the honorable member for Denison that we cannot hope, merely by economic measures, to increase the birthrate Certain things are necessary to be done in order to ease the burden on families, but they must be looked upon only as measures of justice to those who are prepared to face their responsibilities. We need maternity and nursing services; we need some kind of domestic help service; we need better houses. But those things cannot in themselves revive the falling birthrate We must look to the basic wage, which at present provides for the needs of three children for every man who receives it; yet how many thousands of men in this country have no children at all? How many have fewer than three yet the three notional children of the man who has not any militate against the success in life of the children in other families of six and seven and eight. The basic wage is meagre enough in all conscience too meagre but it should be estimated upon the needs of a man and his wife, or of a man who must provide later for a wife, and the children should be provided for by an extension of the child endowment system. Let the man’s wages be a direct charge upon industry, but the children should be a charge on the whole community. If we hope to increase the birthrate we must look to a resurgence of the national spirit, a resurgence of national vitality. We must look to a new concept of the dignity and worth of the family in the social order. I agree with Paul Bureau that the family is the matrix of humanity, the secret laboratory in which every unit of human society is prepared, organized and maintained, and if that laboratory is disorganized or chaotic, the most serious disorders in social life must be expected.

Let us pause for a moment and think of the time when the war shall end. Many speakers in the course of this debate have said that they believe that the war will end during the life of this Parliament, and all too many people hope and believe that by the attainment of victory we shall step straight into the golden age. Nothing could be more foolish, because the golden age will arrive only when you and I and everyone else have made some contribution towards it. We shall have to plan for it, and work for it and sacrifice ourselves for it. We speak of the men coming back, who must be kept on Army rates of pay until suitable work can be found for them. It sounds easy, but is very, very hard. First of all, what is suitable work for each of these men? It will not be sufficient merely to let them go out and take any kind of work. The employment offered them must provide a reasonable prospect of congenial occupation, perhaps for the greater part of their lives. And they will not want to stay on army rates of pay. They are young, eager and impatient, and they will be heartily sick of everything to do with the Army and with war. We must have patience for them. We must be prepared, particularly the women, to hold in stability those who have come back still in the grip of the restlessness engendered by war. Those who return will be, for the most part, in the age group of 20 to 30 years. They must be trained to a trade or profession. Our present apprenticeship cannot provide for their needs, and will have to be re-adjusted. Here, I believe, trade unionists can and will make a great contribution to national re-construction by considering and planning suitable alternatives to the laws which at present mean a great deal to them.

Almost every honorable member who has touched on this topic has spoken on housing. I, too, believe in a scheme of national housing. I believe that it will help in the re-absorption into industry of discharged men, but I believe also that we face a grave danger that the housing scheme will be overloaded with unnecessary costs. We have in Australia what I call a bricks and mortar complex. We cannot carry on any activity without housing it in a palace. We want in the homes that are to be built something less than is provided in some of the houses I have seen designed. We want good walls and strong foundations; we want good fittings, but we do not want something that will cost more than is necessary. Permanency in a cathedral is a wonderful thing, but no one wants a house to last for 300 years. We need houses with sufficient space, so that the housewife can work in comfort. There must be space for the children to move about, and there must be sufficient space about the house so that it will not readily become a part of a crowded slum.

There was a reference in the Governor-General’s Speech to an overhaul of the man-power situation. I hope that when the Government gives this matter its attention, it will re-adjust what I might call man-hours. At the present time there are thousands of women in the services and in munitions factories. By a slight re-adjustment of hours, it should be possible for them to receive some training that would fit them for civil life, particularly in the domestic sphere where I hope most of them will eventually find their place. Each week they could receive one or two hours’ training in domestic science in canteens attached to munitions establishments, hospitals or military camps, so that when the men come home, torn, worn and wrecked, as many of them will be by their war experiences, they will have women to meet and greet them who will not be immediately harassed by a lack of knowledge of domestic work, and the running of happy homes.

Now let me turn just for a moment to the international sphere. I have heard expressions of opinion that have surprised and even hurt me, and I have heard some that have cheered me greatly. Some honorable members have assured us that there can never be any hope that mankind will escape the horror of war that descends upon the world every now and then. Others have assured us that by international co-ordination we can usher in very quickly the reign of peace for which we all long. I stand somewhere between the two schools of thought. Because of what has happened to me in this war I have become disillusioned. For years I went about the world preaching the gospel of peace and friendship and co-operation. I believed with all that my heart in disarmament, but I can never again advocate such a policy. I believe that we must arm ourselves to meet whatever danger may threaten us, but I also believe that we must co-operate with all those forces of good that are working for peace, and with all those people who have a will to peace, so that we may do whatever lies in our power to preserve peace in our time. However, it is not sufficient merely to cooperate, or should we limit the sphere of goodwill. Surely we can see that if Germany should rise again in Europe, Japan will rise again in the east as surely as the sun itself rises. The other evening I, in common with many other honorable members, saw a film dealing with the war in Europe. There was one scene which portrayed the evacuation from Dunkirk. We saw how the German army flowed across the Low Countries and over northern France, and how the small British army was squeezed into an ever-decreasing compass, until finally it was compressed into the small area immediately around Dunkirk. Then the picture showed a mist on the water, and the voice of the announcer said this: “And then out of the mist there came a strange flotilla warships and fishing smacks, and craft of all kinds filled the sea. It was the sea-going English come to rescue their own”. And I felt, as I believe every other person felt who saw the picture, that this indeed was one of the greatest moments in the history of our race. I thought then, as I think now, that we should not fail occasionally to pause and look back upon the great moments of our past. We go along, thinking always that we progress, but sometimes we have to pause and take stock. I think that every Australian should pause now and again and say to himself, “Only 150 years ago this land was wilderness. Now we have great cities, wonderful feats of engineering and beautiful buildings everywhere. And this is still a land of promise”. We cannot afford to neglect some recognition of our past, even though we gaze into the future.

Now, honorable members will forgive me, I know, when I say that I bear the name of one of whom it was said in this chamber that to him the problems of government were not problems of blue books, not problems of statistics, but problems of human values and human hearts and human feelings. That, it seems to me, is a concept of government that we might well cherish. It is certainly one that I hold very dear. I hope that I shall never forget that everything that takes place in this chamber goes out somewhere to strike a human heart, to influence the life of some fellow being, and I believe this, too, with all my heart: that the duty of every government, whether in this country or any other, is to see that no man, because of the condition of his life, shall ever need lose his vision of the city of God.

SPEECH – Strike a Human Heart – Dame Enid Lyon

On the 28th of August 1963 – to mark Lincoln Memorial day – the American Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr delivered the ‘I have a Dream’ speech, calling for an end to discrimination and for racial equality.

Five years later, on the 4th of April 1968, the Reverend was assassinated. His words continue to inspire.

 The Full Speech

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.*We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.”* We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

SPEECH – I have a Dream – Martin Luther King Jr

SPEECH – O’Donovan Rossa Panegyric – Padraig Pearse

On the 1st of August 1915, Padraig Pearse stepped up to the graveside of O’Donovan Rossa to recite a eulogy.

He had entered Glasnevin Cemetary a near unknown poet. Some fifteen minutes later, he walked away the defacto leader of the republican movement.

The Full Speech

It has seemed right, before we turn away from this place in which we have laid the mortal remains of O’Donovan Rossa, that one among us should, in the name of all, speak the praise of that valiant man, and endeavour to formulate the thought and the hope that are in us as we stand around his grave. And if there is anything that makes it fitting that I, rather than some other, rather than one of the grey-haired men who were young with him and shared in his labour and in his suffering, should speak here, it is perhaps that I may be taken as speaking on behalf of a new generation that has been re-baptised in the Fenian faith, and that has accepted the responsibility of carrying out the Fenian programme. I propose to you then that, here by the grave of this unrepentant Fenian, we renew our baptismal vows; that, here by the grave of this unconquered and unconquerable man, we ask of God, each one for himself, such unshakable purpose, such high and gallant courage, such unbreakable strength of soul as belonged to O’Donovan Rossa.

Deliberately here we avow ourselves, as he avowed himself in the dock, Irishmen of one allegiance only. We of the Irish Volunteers, and you others who are associated with us in to-day’s task and duty, are bound together and must stand together henceforth in brotherly union for the achievement of the freedom of Ireland. And we know only one definition of freedom: it is Tone’s definition, it is Mitchel’s definition, it is Rossa’s definition. Let no man blaspheme the cause that the dead generations of Ireland served by giving it any other name and definition than their name and their definition.

We stand at Rossa’s grave not in sadness but rather in exaltation of spirit that it has been given to us to come thus into so close a communion with that brave and splendid Gael. Splendid and holy causes are served by men who are themselves splendid and holy. O’Donovan Rossa was splendid in the proud manhood of him, splendid in the heroic grace of him, splendid in the Gaelic strength and clarity and truth of him. And all that splendour and pride and strength was compatible with a humility and a simplicity of devotion to Ireland, to all that was olden and beautiful and Gaelic in Ireland, the holiness and simplicity of patriotism of a Michael O’Clery or of an Eoghan O’Growney. The clear true eyes of this man almost alone in his day visioned Ireland as we of to-day would surely have her: not free merely, but Gaelic as well; not Gaelic merely, but free as well.

In a closer spiritual communion with him now than ever before or perhaps ever again, in a spiritual communion with those of his day, living and dead, who suffered with him in English prisons, in communion of spirit too with our own dear comrades who suffer in English prisons to-day, and speaking on their behalf as well as our own, we pledge to Ireland our love, and we pledge to English rule in Ireland our hate. This is a place of peace, sacred to the dead, where men should speak with all charity and with all restraint; but I hold it a Christian thing, as O’Donovan Rossa held it, to hate evil, to hate untruth, to hate oppression, and, hating them, to strive to overthrow them. Our foes are strong and wise and wary; but, strong and wise and wary as they are, they cannot undo the miracles of God who ripens in the hearts of young men the seeds sown by the young men of a former generation. And the seeds sown by the young men of ’65 and ’67 are coming to their miraculous ripening to-day. Rulers and Defenders of Realms had need to be wary if they would guard against such processes. Life springs from death; and from the graves of patriot men and women spring living nations. The Defenders of this Realm have worked well in secret and in the open. They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools! — they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace

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SPEECH – 4th of July – Mark Twain/Samuel L Clemens

On the 4th of July in 1886, Samuel L Clemens (better known as Mark Twain) attended a family reunion, close to his childhood home. He was called upon to join in the Independence Day celebrations (held on the 3rd of July).

mark twain

 

The Full Speech

Ladies and gentlemen: I little thought that when the boys woke me with their noise this morning that I should be called upon to add to their noise.

But I promise not to keep you long. You have heard all there is to hear on the subject, the evidence is all in and all I have to do is to sum up the evidence and deliver the verdict.

You have heard the declaration of independence with its majestic ending, which is worthy to live forever, which has been hurled at the bones of a fossilized monarch, old King George the III, who has been dead these many years, and which will continue to be hurled at him annually as long as this republic lives.

You have heard the history of the nation from the first to the last–from the beginning of the revolutionary was, past the days of its great general, Grant, told in eloquent language by the orator of the day.

All I have to do is to add the verdict, which is all that can be added, and that is, ‘It is a successful day.’ I thank the officers of the day that I am enabled to once more stand face to face with the citizens that I met thirty years ago, when I was a citizen of Iowa, and also those of a later generation.

In the address to-day, I have not heard much mention made of the progress of these last few years–of the telegraph, telephone, phonograph, and other great inventions. A poet has said, ‘Better fifty years of England than all the cycles of Cathay,’ but I say ‘Better this decade than the 900 years of Methuselah.’ There is more done in one year now than Methuselah ever saw in all his life. He was probably asleep all those 900 years.

When I was here thirty years ago there were 3,000 people here and they drank 3,000 barrels of whisky a day, and they drank it in public then. I know that the man who makes the last speech on an occasion like this has the best of the other speakers, as he has the last word to say, which falls like a balm on the audience–though this audience has not been bored to-day–and though I can’t say that last word, I will do the next best thing I can, and that is to sit down