Podcast: Don Watson on Keating’s Redfern Speech, 1992

Great friend of the Almanac, Tony Wilson, has just released another of his fine Speakola episodes as a podcast.


We’ve shared stuff from Tony on several occasions (from ‘1989’ to THIS episode on teaching) and today’s subject is a significant one. Approaching 28 years since the address, Tony talked to Don Watson on the Redfern Speech by Paul Keating.


In the decades since, meaningful engagement with the task of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples has taken a meandering path that sits in stark contrast to the speech’s message, tone and hanging expectations. From Howard’s ‘Black armbands’ to Rudd’s ‘Sorry’ and the Intervention, Cathy Freeman to Adam Goodes, Uluru Statement from the Heart to Djab Wurrung Birthing Trees…it can feel like a lot of progress has been made only for the enormity of the gulf to make itself known again and again.



Watson is a fierce intellect responsible for writing speeches that have shaped modern politics and policy (as well as comedy in his earlier days!); his thoughts carry plenty of weight even today.



You can listen to the interview HERE or via Apple Podcasts HERE.




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  1. I’ve really enjoyed listening to this over the course of an afternoon Tony, a fantastic chat.

  2. Don was my history lecturer when i did my BA. No surprise history was one of my majors.

    Don’s work has always inspired. His research of the subject, his adroit wording, all highlight his great skills. I remember the first year of my BA, when he recommended us students attend Max Gillies stage show, of which Don was a primary writer. Don’s work with Paul Keating, his books on subjects such as ‘weasel words’, journeying across the U S of A, and of course works on historical figures such as Brian Fitzpatrick are marvelous works to read.

    The Redfern Speech so eloquently, so accurately sums of the history of Australia since European colonisation. Thanks Tony it’s good this important work is known to us, helping Australia move forward to a better future. Always important we remember, White Australia, has a Black history.


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