PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3069

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR EG WHITLAM QC MP, AT THE LORD MAYOR'S BANQUET, MELBOURNE TOWN HALL, FRIDAY 9 NOVEMBER 1973

Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 09/11/1973

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 3069

EMBARGO: 9.00 P. Ml.
SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR. EG, WHITLAM, MP,,
AT THE LORD MAYOR'S BANQUET, MELBOURNE TOWN HALL,
FRIDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 1973
IT IS JUST ONE WEEK SINCE I WAS SPEAKING AT A BANQUET
IN THE GREAT HALL OF THE PEOPLE IN PEKING, Now I AM IN THE GREAT
HALL OF THE PEOPLE IN MELBOURNE. I ASSURE YOU I FEEL PERFECTLY
AT HOME IN BOTH THESE GREAT SEATS OF POWER, AMONG THE REPRESENTATIVES
OF THESE TWO POWERFUL RULING ELITES. ONE FINDS THE SAME WARMING
INFLUENCES OF FOOD AND WINE TO BRIDGE THE GREAT GAP IN IDEOLOGY.
ONE FINDS IN PEKING, IN MELBOURNE, THE SAME PERMANENCE, THE SAME
SOLIDARITY, THE SAME SELF-CONFIDENCE WHICH CHARACTERISES ALL GREAT
ESTABLISHMENTS. THE MANDARINS OF MELBOURNE ARE AT LEAST AS FAMOUS
AS THOSE OF PEKING. AND ONE INDEED FEELS SOMETHING OF AN
INTERLOPER, A MERE PRIME MINISTER AND ONE FROM SYDNEY AT THAT.
I COULDN'T HELP BUT FEEL, LAST YEAR, AS I SAT LISTENING TO MY
DISTINGUISHED PREDECESSOR, THAT A PRIME MINISTER FROM SYDNEY EVEN
A CONSERVATIVE ONE WAS NOT EXACTLY TAKEN TO THE HEARTS OF THE
MEMBERS OF THE MELBOURNE ESTABLISHMENT. ONE IS MADE VERY AWARE
PRIME MINISTERS COME AND PRIME MINISTERS GO BUT YOU GO ON FOREVER.
NEVERTHELESS, THERE HAS BEEN SINCE YOUR LAST BANQUET
A CHANGE IN AUSTRALIA'S GOVERNMENT. As I LOOK AROUND, I SEE HOW
MANFULLY YOU ARE BEARING UP UNDER THE WHIPS AND ARROWS OF OUTRAGEOUS
FORTUNE WHICH HAS PLACED THE SOCIALISTS IN CANBERRA. I MIGHT EVEN
SAY YOU LOOK AMAZINGLY PROSPEROUS AND INDEED IF I CAN BELIEVE THE
FINANCIAL PAGES AND THE ADVERTISING PAGES OF THE GREAT MELBOURI\ E
DAILIES, MOST OF YOU ARE, AND I CAN TELL YOU WITH ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE,
THAT YOU WILL REMAIN SO AS LONG AS I REMAIN PRIME MINISTER, I DON'T
REALLY THINK ITS DIFFICULT TO LEARN TO LIVE WITH EACH OTHER, AND I
THINK YOU MIGHT EVEN COME TO ENJOY IT.

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I FOR INSTANCE, FIND I CAN LIVE WITH YOU PREMIER. I HAD
OCCASION TO SAY YESTERDAY IN REFERENCE TO MY HAVING GIVEN UP THE
FOREIGN AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO THIS WEEK THAT WE HAD GOT RIGHT THE GREAT
AREAS OF OUR INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES, WITH
JAPAN, WITH CHINA, WITH INDONESIA, INDEED, THE ONLY SIGNIFICANT
UNSETTLED AREA OF OUR DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH A HOSTILE POWER IS
THE GOVERNMENT OF QUEENSLAND. BUT YOU PREMIER WILL EVEN COME TO
DINNER WITH ME. I KNOW HE HAS DIFFICULTY WITH SOME OF HIS
MINISTERS, BUT WHEN WE SPEAK TOGETHER, AND WHEN HIS MINISTERS SPEAK
WITH MINE, WE CAN WORK TOGETHER.
THE MOST IMPORTANT AREA OF CO-OPERATION CONCERNS THE
PLACES WHERE MOST AUSTRALIANS, WHERE MOST VICTORIANS LIVE IN
THE CITIES AND CENTRES, AND IN THE AREA OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT SO WELL
REPRESENiED HERE TONIGHT. WE HAVE THE BOLD SOCIAL EXPERIMENT IN
IMPROVING THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT AND OFFERING A GREATER CHOICE TO
THE PEOPLE OF VICTORIA AT ALBURY-WODONGA. WE ARE CO-OPERATING
WITH THE VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT, IN ITS OWN PLANS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT
OF GEELONG AS A GROWTH CENTRE. THE PREPARATIONS ARE PROCEEDING
JOINTLY AND BOTH GOVERNMENTS HOPE WE WILL BE ABLE TO EASE THE
PROBLEM OF MELBOURNE GROWTH EARLY AND SUBSTANTIALLY, WE HAVE MADE
A GREAT DEAL OF MONEY AVAILABLE THIS YEAR FOR ACQUIRING STRATEGIC
AREAS OF LAND FOR URBAN RECREATION AND CONSERVATION AT W4ESTERN-PORT
BAY, THE MORNINGTON PENINSULA AND THE DANDENONG RANGES, WE ARE
CO-OPERATING IN ESTABLISHING A CONTINUING MAJOR PROGRAM TO RETARD
THE RISE IN RESIDENTIAL LAND PRICES IN MELBOURNE. WHEN THE
COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY WE HAVE ESTABLISHED ON THE ' ATIONAL ESTATE
REPORTS, WE CONTEMPLATE IMMEDIATE ACTION IN CONSULTATION WITH
VICTORIA TO FOLLOW UP IN VIGOROUS SUPPORT OF THE STATE'S NATIONAL
TRUST AND PRIVATE CONSERVATION ORGANISATIONS,

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DISCUSSIONS ARE NOW WELL ADVANCED WITH THE VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT
AND LOCAL COUNCILS ON SPENDING TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN
THE DEPRIVED WESTERN SECTORS OF MELBOURNE, LOCAL COUNCILS HAVE
BEEN ACTIVE IN FORMING AMONG57THEMSELVES A ', ESTERN ; REGIONS COMMISSION.
11E ARE ALSO WORKING WITH THE VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT ON A'JOINT
STUDY ON THE SPECIAL NEEDS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT FOR THE PROVISION
OF LOCAL SERVICES ON. A STATE-WIDE BASIS. I PERHAPS SHOULDN'IT
MENTION SO INDELICATE A SUBJECT HERE BUT WE ARE WELL ADVANCED IN
REACHING OUR GOAL OF OVERCOMING THE BACKLOG IN SEWERAGE BY 1980.
IREMEMBER WHEN I FIRST HAD THE TEMERITY TO RAISE. THIS AS A NATIONAL
ISSUE, JOHN GORTON SAID I SOUNDED LIKE A jIAYOR OR A-SHIRE PRESIDENT
RATHER THAN A NATIONAL LEADER. IDON'T KNOW IF I WAS MEANT TO BE
INSULTED, BUT I WASN'T. THE NEW GRANTS COMMISSION IS IN BEING
TO HELP MEET THE GROWING NEEDS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND TO REDUCE
INEQUALITY BETWEEN REGIONS,
SO THERE HAS BEEN THIS WIDE RANGE OF CO-OPERATION ON
URBAN AFFAIRS. WHAT WE HAVE TRIED TO DO IS TO MOVE AWAY FROM THE
CONVENTIONAL IDEA THAT THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND
THE STATE GOVERNMENTS ARE LIMITED TO THE FINANCIAL RELATIONSHIP
IN TERMS OF SECTION 96 OF THE CONSTITUTION. THE AUSTRALIAN
GOVERNMENT BRINGS TO THE CONFERENCE TABLE MUCH MORE THAN ITS
CHEQUE BOOK. IT BRINGS NATIONAL ATTITUDES, A SENSE OF NATIONAL
OBJECTIVES AND PRIORITIES. IT BRINGS NATIONAL ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT
AND NATIONAL ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES, OF COURSE OUR TWO GOVERNMENTS
DON'T ALWAYS AGREE, BUT ALREADY IN THIS YEAR OF 1073 TII'-HAS BEEN
ESTABLISHED A NEW AND EFFECTIVE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN AUSTRALIA AND
VICTORIA IN A CONCERTED THRUST TOWARDS SOLVING OR AT LEAST REDUCING
THE GREAT PROBLEMS OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT, SO CENTRAL TO THE WELLBEING
OF THE VAST MAJORITY OF OUR PEOPLE.

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I MIGHT JUST SAY THIS: ONE OF THE REASONS WHY MANY
PEOPLE, PERHAPS EVEN SOME OF YOU, FEEL DISCOMFITED BY THE PROCESS
OF CHANGE, IS JUST THAT FUNDAMENTAL FACT THAT THERE WAS NO CHANGE
FOR SO LONG, THAT THERE WAS NO CHANGE FOR 23 YEARS. IN THIS WE
WERE UNIQUE AMONG THE ENGLISH SPEAKING DEMOCRACIES. THERE HAD TO
BE CHANGE AND PROBABLY THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN MANY OF THE SAME CHANGES
MADE, PARTICULARLY ON MATTERS AFFECTING RESOURCES AND INVESTMENT
EVEN IF THE GOVERNMENT HAD NOT CHANGED LAST DECEMBER. THE SEEMING
STABILITY OF THE PAST WAS LARGELY ILLUSORY, ARTIFICIAL,
REFLECTING AN ESSENTIALLY ABNORMAL, THOUGH LONG ENDURING, POLITICAL
SITUATION. IT IS CHANGE WHICH IS NORMAL AND NATURAL IN
PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY. I THINK IF YOU ACCEPT THAT BASIC FACT,
YOU WILL FIND LIFE UNDER LABOR PREDICTABLE AND REFRESHING AND
IT MAY EVEN BE, AS I CERTAINLY FIND IT, EXCITING AND
EXHILARATING FOR US ALL AS AUSTRALIANS.

Transcript 3069