For The True Believers

For The True Believers

Great Labor Speeches that Shaped History

Edited by Troy Bramston


Front cover images: Bob Hawke, ACTU Congress, 15 September 1979 (Fairfax, © Michael Rayner); Gough Whitlam on the steps of Parliament House, 11 November 1975 (Australian Labor Party); Paul Keating, National Press Club, March 1996 Election Campaign (Newspix); John Curtin, wartime rally, 1942 (Fairfax).

Graham Freudenberg, Australia’s greatest speechwriter, says “the Australian Labor Party was built on speeches.” This book brings together great Labor speeches which give voice to the party’s enduring values and achievements, and place it and its principal figures at the centre of historic events.

There are speeches that stir the imagination and inspire, speeches that appeal to humanity, speeches of sorrow and redemption, speeches that urge moderation and caution, speeches that call for courage in the face of adversity, speeches that seek to mute the trumpet sound of war, speeches that attack the forces of conservatism, and speeches which celebrate and mourn the party’s fallen.

  • Chris Watson articulates Labor’s purpose as “a light upon a mountain” – four decades before
  • Ben Chifley’s famed “light on the hill” speech John Curtin tells a hushed parliament that “a great naval battle is proceeding”
  • Gough Whitlam declares “It’s time” for a new Labor government
  • Bob Hawke’s urges South Africa’s apartheid leaders to listen to “the spirit of men and women yearning to be free”
  • Paul Keating’s belief in Labor as “the people who can dream the big dreams and do the big things”
  • Kevin Rudd says “We are Sorry” to the stolen generations of Aboriginal Australians

Clip from the author, reproduced with permission from The Australian:


Published 13 November 2013
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781862879478
Australian RRP $39.95
International Price $35.00