A while ago, I went looking for a good book to read on Australian Political History, and I'm still looking. I really didn't manage to find one that inspired me to fork over $20-30. Most books on Australia's Political History seem to be biography based, which really isn't what I'm looking for and neither do I want something that's detectably partisan.
So, while I'm still looking for the book1, I've found a resource almost as good. A team in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne led by Dr Sally Young, Senior Lecturer in the Media and Communications Program have put together a project called The Soapbox which aims to document Australian political campaigns from federation.
The result (and it's only just beginning as I understand it) is an unbelievably impressive collection of speeches (and other political campaign material). While it looks like the material is still in the process of being collected and uploaded, it's already well worth a look.
You've got to love this quote from John Curtin's Policy Launch speech at the 1937 election2:
The best way in which a widow with dependent children can do her greatest work in Australia is not by competing for wages, but by carrying on to the best of her ability in her home the work of mothercraft so that her children may be given the best maternal guidance to become the future citizens of a great Commonwealth.
Curtin went on to lose that election as well as the subsequent election in 1940. He then became Prime Minister in 1941 when two independents who were in support of the Coalition3 (and keeping them in Government) switched their support to the Labor Party.
- Any suggestions gratefully received. [↩]
- Download the whole thing here. [↩]
- The Coalition here meaning the United Australia Party in coalition with the Country Party. [↩]
- The Democratic Audit project is well worth keeping an eye on. I'm subscribed to the Audit Update emails which come out at the most readable and pace of about once a month. I've never failed to find something of interest and importance in the Audit Update emails. [↩]