The following is the speech that Rupert Murdoch had written for Gough Whitlam’s final election rally in St Kilda in the 1972 election campaign. It was written by Evan Williams.who at the time was a senior journalist on The Australian.
Gough Whitlam decided not to use ‘Rupert’s speech’
. What a journey it has been for Rupert Murodch from 1972 to 2015!
Everywhere I have gone in this campaign one thing has been clear and unmistakable above all else : the Australian people are crying out for a new deal. They are crying out for leadership. They are crying out for a government that will put the needs of the people first – that will unite and inspire us, rekindle the energies of the Australian people, and lead this country forward to the greatness it deserves.
For 23 years the Liberals have had total control of the resources and purse-strings of this country; time and opportunity to shape this nation during years of world peace and growing trade and prosperity abroad.
Yet what is the result? The result is that, in every basic area of human need, the Australian people are deprived and wanting, and lagging behind other comparable nations.
We have a health scheme that denies protection to thousands of Australian families, with health insurance funds growing fat on reserves that could be spent for the development of our country.
For the great mass of our children we have schools that are over-crowded and under-staffed, while their parents pay taxes to give extra swimming pools to schools already wealthy and privileged.
We have dirty, antiquated, inefficient public transport, forced to raise the fares higher and higher because the Commonwealth will not accept its proper responsibility.
We have galloping land prices pushing up the cost of homes beyond the reach of thousands of young families.
We have over-crowded, polluted cities, sprawling suburbs lacking the basic amenities of a decent life, without sewerage, without footpaths, without pre-school centres. We are content with a wasteland of stunted opportunities and suburban impoverishment for huge numbers of our people.
Yet these are things which are the fundamentals of a decent civilised life. Australians are entitled to them – as a right. We will provide them – as a right.
The Prime Minister has talked a lot in this election about women and about youth. Let us look at what this government has done for women and done for youth – and done for all of us.
How can this government boast about its concern for youth? – a government that is content to see thousands of school-leavers – young Australians – thrown onto the labour market without jobs; a government that forces the youth of this country to pay through the nose for a university education that we believe is the birthright of every young man or woman who is academically fitted for a university career; a government that has broken the solemn promise of the last Liberal Prime Minister that 18-year olds would have the vote in this very election!
No wonder they’re not given the vote. This is the Liberal recipe for the youth of Australia : Condemn them to rising land prices when they want a home; make them pay for their education; put them on the dole when they leave school; conscript them by lottery; deny them a vote. That is the government’s charter for youth, and I leave you to judge it for yourselves. A government that dares talk of winning the support of youth on a record such as this is more to be pitied than condemned.
Then we hear of the Liberals’ concern for women. But what has this government done for women? It has forced thousands of mothers to work to support young families and pay their household bills. For their children there are no pre-schools or child-care centres for mothers and children who need them. It has done nothing – absolutely nothing – to give women equal pay for equal work. It has allowed the value of the housewife’s dollar to be whittled away by the worst inflation for 20 years. It has condemned thousands of widows, pensioners and deserted wives to hardship and suffering because of social services that are utterly inadequate to the needs of human beings in a modern society.
And, like everyone else in the country, the women of Australia suffer every day from rising prices, unjust taxes on the lower and middle-income groups, poor suburbs, inflated land prices, everything that makes more difficult and unattainable the basic and simple need of millions of women everywhere – a stable, happy, decent home for themselves and their children.
The central ambition of an Australian Labor Government will be to unite all sections of our great community in a common resolve, to forge a new spirit of common purpose that will let us meet the challenges ahead with new confidence, new determination and new strength.
The real threat to our future lies in the sapping of our national resolve, the crushing of our people’s spirit under an apathetic government that cannot give leadership or inspiration, the erosion of our pioneering spirit under a government with a vested interest in apathy, selfishness and materialism, the steady take-over of our land, our industries, our resources by overseas interests – while this tattered, broken and demoralised government does nothing, asks nothing and believes in nothing. How can Australia be saved by a party that cannot save itself? How can we get leadership from a party that cannot lead itself?
My fellow Australians :
I say to you tonight : Under the Liberals, Australians have almost lost their own country. We have almost lost it to foreign economic interests. We have almost lost it by foolish, dishonest policies abroad. We have almost lost it by timid and dependent diplomacy. We have almost lost it by a deterioration in the quality of government which has become a laughing stock abroad. We have almost lost it by economic mismanagement, by a ramshackle social welfare system that is a disgrace to a country that once led the world, by an education system that rewards the privileged and fobs off the needy. We have almost lost it by allowing spurious divisions among ourselves, turning group against group, religion against religion, parents against children.
Men and women of Australia :
Every move the Liberals have made in this election has been designed to perpetuate this weakness and this disunity.
Every move the Australian Labor Party has made in this election has been designed to remove this weakness and repair this disunity.
We want a strong, united Australia. A proud Australia. We do not have to be an uncertain and fearful people.
We are living in the midst of history. All around us, and in our midst, historic changes are taking place.
We say in the Australian Labor Party that there is no need to shrink from these changes. We say in the Australian Labor Party we want to take part in these changes.
We say in the Australian Labor Party – let us take Australia back into the real world and let us bring Australia back to ourselves.
We, the people of Australia, need a vision to help us as a nation. Ben Chifley spoke of the light on the hill.
The light has almost gone out. Let us set it aflame again.