Extract from 1977 ANU John Curtin Memorial Lecture by Tom Fitzgerald

John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library. Records of the Australian National University. An Education for Labor Leadership: the case of Curtin, by T M Fitzgerald, 1977. JCPML00420/2

As the honourable gentleman challenges me, let me say that I voted for his reinstatement in office because he fought the process of deflation and the even then drastic economies which some were endeavouring to force upon the Labor Party.

Furthermore the honourable gentleman was associated with the formulation of the policy which this party advocated all through the Parkes by-election. A definite and positive program which was capable of application had the Government and the party proceeded to carry it through to the last of their resources. The program then enunciated by the honourable gentleman won my vote for his reinstatement in the treasurership. I said to myself, "At last, this government will fight for something."

The personal or private transactions of any honourable member do not influence me in the least. I believed that this country had to choose between two policies that were opposed in their aims.

Perhaps I was wrong. It may be that that program would have failed. But at least, I was prepared to fight for it and, if necessary, go to my political destruction in supporting the faith that was in me.

We have now gone down on that policy and the worst feature is that we have done so, not by the votes of the Opposition, but by the passive acquiescence of this Government.