By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Well May We Say ... The Speeches That Made Australia
Edited by Sally Warhaft (Black Inc., $34.95, softcover, 587 pages)
There may not be much emphasis placed these days on oratory, but the message contained in this compilation is clear: the making of Australian character is displayed through speeches – flaws and all.
Sally Warhaft has edited an exceptional anthology that takes you from politics to satire, controversial to sacred and tributes to inspirational.
Speeches are essentially about character and public speaking is about showing respect for the intelligence of the audience and giving a passionate delivery.
Well May We Say is a rich collection with many first-rate examples of modern and original eloquence. Australia has a unique and distinguished tradition of public oratory.
This authoritative collection traces a tradition as it tells Australia’s story through the “speeches that mattered; some from the moment they were delivered, and others that in hindsight reveal their cultural importance, representing essential styles of rhetoric and significant makers of Australian history”.
Words are not sufficient in themselves as a lot depends on the manner of delivery. Powerful and persuasive oratory was evident when Gough Whitlam stood on the steps of Old Parliament House on 11 November 1975 and uttered his famous retort to the Governor-General’s proclamation of his dismissal.
Relive some memorable moments with Sir Robert Menzies’ renowned speech on ‘The Forgotten People’ to Australian Rules football coach John Kennedy’s inspiring address to his players on Grand Final Day.
Also included are speeches by Alfred Deakin a “masterful orator’; Billy Hughes who spoke to “arouse passions”; Paul Keating a “master of the one-liners”; and Ben Chifley, Sir William Deane, Geoffrey Blainey, Patrick White and many more.
Great speeches tell stories of our past and present in a simple way. They are surprisingly intimate.
Well May We Say also strikes a chord over the power of a single voice to enthuse, captivate, convince and motivate.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.