PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4271


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 09/11/1976

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 4271

FOR PRESS 9 November 1976
I am delighted honoured -to have been invited to attend
this banquet, which is the pre-eminent annual banquet
of the City of Melbourne. It is the occasion on which the
Lord Mayor of Melbourne can speak to the City of Melbourne
and to the State of Victoria.
It is an occasion attended by the Governor, the Chief Justice,
and this year by the representative of the Premier.
Out of the generosity of the City of Melbourne even Prime Ministers,
are, on occasion, provided with a platform from which to respond
to the toast to the Commonwealth and to speak briefly.
Since I find myself tonight with a platform, I hope it will not
be taken as an impertinence if I say a few words about the
concept of this dinner. The first thing that strikes one about
this dinner is the illustrious character of its guest list.
It is a guest list which I know you have striven to make
ecumenical even to the extent of inviting Hawthorn
football club supporters. But then, I suppose this year you
did not really have a choice in the matter.
In recent years, the guest list for this banquet has attracted
considerable comment. I am sure that we are all very pleased
to see so many of the leading women in our community here this
evening. Their presence expresses the judgement that this
banquet pre-eminently . hould express the unity of our community.
It is no reflection on the City of Melbourne or on you, my Lord
Mayor, that there are few if any representatives of the trade
union movement here tonight. Yet their absence, is I believe,
very much to be regretted.
This year, many of us have had to think very deeply about
Australia and the direction in which we want Australia to go.
The kind of Australia we will pass onto our children and our
grandchildren will very much depend on those of us here.
It will also depend equally greatly on many who are not here.
Australia is a country currently facing significant challenges
challenges which arise both from serious economic circumstances
and from inevitable social change. I do not need to spell out
in detail what these challenges are we are all too familiar
with them. ./ 2

Whether we get on top of inflation, whether we can beat
unemployment, whether Australia becomes a country where people
treat each other with tolerance and mutual respect all
these depend on the commitment and attitudes of people right
throughout our community and around Australia.
One of the great qualities about Australia has been the way in
which Australians have traditionally recognised the common
gond between them and the over-riding importance this bond
has over any differences of opinion that might exist.
There are unfortunately some people today who strive
to divide Australians from each other who seek personal gain from
stirring up conflict and divisiveness in the community who
strive to use economic difficulties and social issues to attack
our democratic institutions.
Fortunately, these people are a tiny minority. There is nothing
that will more certainly ensure that they remain a minority
than a widespread -recognition that the future of all Australians
is bound up together.;
I have said on a number of occasions this year, that the
responsibility for ensuring a return to prosperity falls on all
sections of the Australian people.
But the unity of Australians extends beyond the interests we
all have in economic recovery. It is a unity whlichi geniunely extends
to all the major issues with which we as politicians deal whether
we are talking about the position of women in the community,
about opportunities for disadvantaged minorities, about the problems
of the retired, or about the small businessmen. The unity of
interest about which I am speaking extends even into those difficult
problems that arise with changing social values.
In each of these matters all of us those here tonight and
those not here have an over-riding concern in common that all
Australians,, whoever they may be of whatever sex, race, age 0
should be treated with full regard to their personal dignity and
with respect for their right to seek to realise their goals in their
own way.
If principles such as these guide our actions I believe we will not
go far wrong in the way we handle any of the problems that
confront us. Of course, we cannot take for granted that these
basic values will always find expression we know, indeed,
only too well from experience that they are often not expressed.
That instead, some Australians are confronted by intolerance,
discrimination, social privilege and lack of concern and
unfortunately, by efforts to sow division within Australia.
This brings me back to my earlier remarks, and to the imperinence
that I referred to.
A banquet such as this can pre-eminently symbolise the real unity
in our community leading women, trade union leaders, community
leaders of all kinds. 3

The future of Melbourne, of Victoria, of Australia depends
on them all.
This dinner can truly help to symbolise the unity of our
community. I hope that it will increasingly do so in future years.
We cannot avoid the great task of ensuring that the true
unity of Australia prevails over particular differences of opinion.
I believe it is important that we all take every opportunity
to stress our common interests and our common concerns and
take a resolute stand against those who seek to divide.
It has been an excellent dinner enjoyed by us all.
I have been most interested in your remarks, Lord Mayor,
and most grateful for your invitation.

Transcript 4271