Thursday, 6 November 2014

Cate Blanchette at the Whitlam memorial service

A wonderful intelligent speech by Cate Blanchette reflecting on the Whitlam initiatives, as they made possible her life path at various stages, as they changed the nature of Australia, as the placed women where they should have been, in equality and the placing of the arts at the centre of national life.

Where Pearson's speech contains an important catalogue of the rolling back of legislation and attitude discriminatory to indigenous people, Blanchette weaves the history of removal of discrimination against women.

Transcript at SMH

ABC News video, as uploaded to YouTube.


"The loss I felt came down to something very deep and very simple. I am the beneficiary of free, tertiary education. When I went to university I could explore different courses and engage with the student union in extracurricular activity. It was through that that I discovered acting.I am the product of an Australia that wanted, and was encouraged, to explore its voice culturally.I am the beneficiary of good, free healthcare, and that meant the little I earned after tax and rent could go towards seeing shows, bands, and living inside my generation's expression. I am a product of the Australia Council.I am the beneficiary of a foreign policy that put us on the world stage and on the front foot in our region. I am the product of an Australia that engages with the globe and engages honestly with its history and its indigenous peoples.I am a small part of Australia's coming of age, and so many of those initiatives were enacted when I was three... 

... Women were probably the main beneficiaries of free tertiary education. So here today I may stand as an exemplar, but if you combine the modernising and enabling capacity afforded women by his legislation you can begin to see that the nation was truly changed by him through the arts and through gender, thereby leading us towards an inclusive, compassionate maturity. So much of this achievement is directly attributable to policy initiatives Gough Whitlam began with a series of reforms to extend the degree and quality of social opportunities to women in Australia."

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