PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2397


Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 31/03/1971

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 2397

SecbyL the Prime Minister, Mr. William McMahon 31 M\ arch 1971
Your Royal Highness, Your Excellencies, Parliamentary Colleagues, Chiefs
of Staff and Gentlemen,
Prince Philip is very well-known to us and we are delighted he has come
back again as our guest to share with us the fiftieth anniversary of the Royal Australian
Air Force. Your personal standard, Sir, is now flying in Canberra. Its four quarters
are a record of the events which brought you to your high and responsible place
alongside the Throne.
The lions and the cross in the first and second quarters remind us of
your ancestors from Denmark and Greece. The fourth quarter contains the arms
of the city of Edinburgh.
But, Sir, it is the third quarter of the standard, with its black and white
stripes, that has an added interest for many Australians. Many of the locals will
claim you as a supporter of the Yass rugby team. Black and white are its colours.
If you went to Collingwood, in Victoria, you would get a riotous welcome. Their
colours, too, are black and white.
But Sir, I'm sure you'd get the best welcome of all if you went to the
Western Suburbs in my own electorate near Sydney. They too play rugby in black
and white. I've heard that Newcastle United in Britain claims your support and that,
in fact, you call your personal standard " Newcastle United". Our teams in black
and white are called " the magpies" and I'll stretch the story a bit further, Sir,
to recall that your f irst command was a naval frigate, H. M. S. Magpie.
But names apart, Sir, my advisers tell me that the black and white stripes
in your standard are the mark of the Mountbattens your family name and one of
great distinction in the British story.
I hope your standard will fly in this country many times and will always
bring with it the same enjoyment as it does today.
Your own family links with the Throne are deep-rooted in history and you
have given matchless support to Her Majesty The Queen. Together you have given a
new purpose and an involvement to the Crown and the people in this neo-Elizabethan
age. / 2

1 2.
The Crown's adaptability to contemporary life is evident to all of us. It
is based, I believe, simply on a compatability with the world of today and an
understanding of the human values and the qualities that make our society what it
is. You are known Sir, not only as a sailor, airman and sportsman, but as a
man with a social conscience and a deep and understanding sense of community interest.
You have been a spokesman for most good causes and a number of neglected ones.
You have never been to use your own words " a sitting tenant in any
job". Not once or twice, but every time you have been with us, you have had
something inspiring to say.
Your speeches have purpose and point and are candid. They spark off
ideas and promote debate with a cutting edge finely honed for each particular subject.
Your appeals for a public conscience on the protection of our wild life
and the conservation of our environment have done much to win support for what we
want to achieve. It is part of history, Sir, that you managed to have the site of a
housing estate in Western Australia changed so that a " noisy scrub bird" to give it
its full name should not be disturbed, because the species was nearly extinct in
Australia. I am sure you know, Sir, that we have developed plans for a National
Advisory~ ouncil onConservation and also have decided to establish a Commonwealth
Office of the Environment.
You are an eloquent advocate of conservation and this helps to generate
a public awareness of the problem which is one, not for governments alone, but for
everyone. I think, too, Sir, your special interest in young people matches the mood
of the times. We want to expand their horizons and their freedoms. By that I mean
the freedoms that go with health and physical fitness education and opportunity.
These new frontiers must be explored and fertilised if our young people are to live
happy and rewarding lives.
The interest of Australian youth in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme
shows they will readily respond to new outlets for their enthusiasms, talents and
energies. We value the Scheme as we value the Commonwealth Study Conference
because it is one of those social movements of the fast-moving seventies that you
have sponsored with drive, imagination and more than a bit of blunt speaking.
We don't want Australia to stand still, and, I am sure Sir, neither do you.
You have warned that the propaganda of the " stop-everything brigade" is continuous
and in the long-run fatal. You have done what you can to make the " start something
society" remain active and dedicated. With these goals we all agree. oo. / 3

And you, Sir, are a family man. Those who have seen you with your
family as so many of us did last year will know how enjoyable and exciting it can
be. It is a reminder that the family remains the foundation of the good society.
When you spoke on television last Sunday you said of the Royal Family
" We have to live as people and we have to have a home".
I agree completely. There is no other foundation on which we can
build if we want to sustain a free and tolerant society.
Sir, it is refreshing to have you with us for all these reasons and to do
honour to the Royal Australian Air Force on its fiftieth birthday. Ilam specially glad
to be associated as Prime Minister with this anniversary, becadse in 1952 1 had the
honour to present, on behalf of Her Majesty, The Queen's colours to the R. F.
at Laverton. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a special day for the R. A. A. F. The
R. A. A. F. has fought with heroism d. nd distinfction over Europe and Africa, across
the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and ih the war theatres of Asia.
This fighting Service is vital to our security because I believe air power
to be one of the keys both to survival and to peace.
We are proud that you are here as a Marshal of the R. A. A. F. and
as a rmmber of the Royal F amily.
And that you honour this fighting Service by your presence, as we, in this
Parliament, honour it, too.
We thank you, Sir, for being with us at this time.

Transcript 2397