Noel Pearson’s Whitlam Oration: In Honour Of The Old Man

Nov 13, 2013 

Noel Pearson has tonight delivered a stunning Whitlam Oration, honouring “the old man” who led the reforming government of 1972-75.


Pearson called not just for Indigenous recognition in the Australian Constitution but elimination of the race power in Section 25 and the insertion of a provision outlawing racial discrimination.

Pearson, a lawyer and land-rights activist, is Chair of the Cape York Group. He comes from the Guugu Yimidhirr community of Hopevale on South Eastern Cape York Peninsula. He played a central role in the establishment of the Cape York Land Council in 1990 and came to national prominence for his advocacy of Native title cases including the Wik decision.

Speaking directly to Whitlam’s son Tony, Pearson asked him to convey his great affection, “nay love”, to “Australia’s greatest white elder” and “friend without peer” of Aboriginal people.

The Whitlam Oration is held annually by the Whitlam Institute at the University of Western Sydney.

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